Health Democracy Movement

The Health Democracy Movement

Government and the private sector have both failed to insure the health of millions of Americans. HMOs constantly raise premiums, reduce coverage, resist paying, and cancel policies. Preventive health care is beyond reach of millions. Meanwhile advocates for federally-paid "universal" health insurance are defeated repeatedly by legislatures owned by HMO lobbies. National media are owned significantly by HMOs.

There is a new way to go. The Ithaca Health Alliance shows that the co-op sector can pay health costs for small membership fees. Owning our own o-op health plan is like homeownership-- better than living in a public housing project or paying private landlords. Though still small, the Alliance covers everyday emergencies yet plans to self-insure thousands of area residents. Health co-ops can put members in control of prices, by voting, and make them owners of health clinics and medical centers. Health co-ops can as well provide interest-free loans for rebuilding cities and farms.

The diagram shows a grassroots-controlled national Health Democracy plan. Members rule by electing members of Local Alliance Boards (LABS) and directly by powers of referendum. These boards operate within bylaws which limit the amount they can charge members, and limit the amount they can pay staff. Therefore nobody gets wealthy working for a health alliance, but they're connected to communities which enrich them.

Health Democracy is structured to ensure bottom-up authority rather than top-down authority.

Local Health Alliances:
* establish multiple LABS in one metro area.
* define spinoff procedures and election process,
* decide local policy (via paper ballot or email ballot w/access code) within
* collaborate with other locals directly (sharing experiences, best practices, staff, accounting),
* coordinate with other locals statewide via State Alliances.
* make policy for local, state and national (referenda initiated by 100 members or 5% whichever smaller).
* hire regional/federal staff.
* abide the following irreducible guidelines: maximum wage, adaptive reuse rather than new building

Regional Health Alliances:
* serve locals based on policies established by local congress.
* no independent policymaking authority.
* lobby for favorable state legislation
* lobby to increase services/access for members * send press releases * research & distributes info on public/private sector grants offered * send press releases * compile and distribute accreditation and compliance reports * file suit on behalf of LABS against a LAB violating Alliance policy. * abide irreducible guidelines: maximum wage, adaptive reuse rather than new building

National Health Alliances:
* execute national policy established by locals
* no independent policymaking authority.
* advocate for favorable legislation promulgated by locals
* maintain web page linking all state Alliances
* organize Congresses
* link to International Alliance
* distribute local contributions to other affiliated national Alliances.
* abide irreducible guidelines: maximum wage, adaptive reuse rather than new building

International Health Alliance Distribute funds provided by locals, regionals, nationals