Give Grand County credit for health care initiatives
April 21, 2008
That’s an unfortunately appropriate way to describe how most communities approach widening gaps in health care these days.
They address only the most egregious cases, because that is what they can afford to do with limited resources.
The ambitious might even chip away at the edges by providing a modicum of care for low-income children and families. But, by and large, problems associated with rapidly rising health care costs and the escalating number of uninsured Americans march on unabated.
All due apologies (or not) to the current executive branch and legislative leadership in Washington, D.C., but that tired, disjointed Beltway tune about health care savings accounts and tax credits is beginning to sound an awful lot like fiddle music while Rome burns.
Thank goodness some public officials live closer to where the consequences of this country’s shameful lack of a health care system become more apparent. These officials are the ones, it turns out, who are showing more ingenuity and backbone when it comes to addressing the issue.
Grand County, for example, can be proud its leaders are reaching beyond the triage approach for what could be ground-breaking solutions. Our county commissioners are engaged in efforts to assist county citizens with their health care needs on several fronts.
Among them, the county is examining how to establish a clinic at the Granby Medical Facilities, to be built near City Market, that would charge for care on a sliding scale based on patients’ ability to pay.
To that end, the Grand County Rural Health Network hopes to finalize a business plan by the end of the year after studying models from other communities.
In a bold, innovative initiative, the commissioners have been looking into how the county might act as an umbrella agency of sorts to make health insurance available to all county residents.
That their initial foray was turned back has not dissuaded them from continuing to try. Yet as encouraging as these efforts are, we would offer one note of caution.
It has been some 15 years since current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, then first lady, was widely ridiculed for trying to formulate a national health care plan. A decade and a half and endless proposals later, we are no closer to realizing that goal while tens of millions more Americans are without health insurance.
It would be discouraging if the county’s initiatives were to become similarly mired at the conceptual stage. One way to ensure that they don’t is to establish firm timetables for achieving these goals, something we’d strongly encourage.
In the meantime, we extend hearty congratulations to county officials for finding the wherewithal to look beyond the obvious and seek local solutions when it comes to this growing national crisis.