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Some fresh competition might be just what US health care needs

By in Press Enterprise on February 1, 2018

By The Editorial Board

Industrialists creating a separate health alliance to protect their employees out of frustration with both the quality of care and the rapidly upwardly spiraling costs — there’s a story ripped from this week’s headlines.

But doesn’t it also sound familiar? During World War II, that’s what Oakland shipbuilder Henry Kaiser and his executives did, first by putting doctors and hospital beds in a hut on their Liberty Ship construction site and later expanding Kaiser Permanente into an all-inclusive medical and insurance nonprofit for anyone throughout California and Hawaii who wanted to sign up.

Kaiser has been good for millions of families for decades. But it, too, is buffeted by higher costs these days. For that, competition is always good.

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So that’s why it was so interesting and even heartening to hear on Tuesday that three huge American corporations — Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase — have teamed up to begin planning a health care system for their workers, a million strong.

There is no real indication yet what the alliance will look like — whether it will be a loosely knit system that merely recommends physicians or a strong entity a la Kaiser that employs its own health care professionals and […]    

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