Florida Can Begin Reinventing Healthcare By Competing with Amazon

by Bobby Reyes

Packing of radio-pharmaceuticals in glass vials | Photo by Dean Calma/IAEA via Wikimedia Commons

Part XV of the “Florida, the State of the Future” Series

Floridians, especially their youth of voting age, will someday (or even in this year’s mid-term elections) decide to compete, and outsmart, the Amazon Corporation. The people (and their out-of-state and foreign stakeholders) can start it by turning healthcare into a cooperative (co-op) system.

Because the Amazon Corporation has organized a division called “Amazon Care,” even if its billionaire owners and other filthy-rich investors do not want “universal-healthcare coverage” for the underprivileged communities, especially the poorest of the poor God-forsaken Americans that are homeless. More so if they are needed for lack of tremendous safety nets, aside from equal-employment opportunities.

Here is the latest development in the “Amazon Care” venture” (as publicized by the Amazon Health Services division): “The online retail giant Amazon plans to buy One Medical for $18 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $3.9-billion including the company’s net debt.

“The deal expands Amazon’s reach into primary care as it also operates Amazon Care, which offers both virtual-care services and in-home care to employees and other companies.

“One Medical went public in January 2020 for $14 a share. But shares in One Medical’s parent company, 1life Healthcare, have lost 75% of their value in the past year.

“Acquiring One Medical is part of Amazon’s goal to “reinvent” healthcare, said Neil Lindsay, SVP of Amazon Health Services, in the press release.

This journalist has been advocating since 2012 for his homeland, the Philippines (PH), to push a “universal healthcare” initiative. The first step is to organize a Filipino version of the Kaiser Permanente Foundation (www.kp.org) in every province. This columnist has been a KP member or subscriber for decades now.

Once it is set up in Sorsogon, the HMO will also have a hospital ship (and perhaps a fleet of hospital ships — in partnership with other interested provinces). The Sorsogon provincial government will procure them. Sorsogon will secure the assistance of foreign governments and multilateral international agencies and foundations. The hospital ship(s) can be fielded anywhere in the world with epidemics or a budding pandemic. The vessels will also serve as “floating nursing schools” for groups of Florence Nightingales and other medical professionals to take up “continuing studies,”

Please find a description of the HMO project for the Philippines. It is called the “DrRizalcom/HMO Proposal for Sorsogon & the PH” — as a Facebook Group.

“If Floridians someday vote for their version of the DrRizal.com HMO idea, they can start the collapse of the Amazon Care operations.

This columnist also ventilated a conceptual framework of approach for the Philippines-based HMO — especially during his radio broadcasts in 2015 and 2016 when he ran for governor of Sorsogon Province. The HMO will be owned by a foundation, a cooperative (co-op) formed by all its medical employees. Staff members, vendors, contractors, and a second co-op owned by its members and subscribers. The equity, therefore, will be divided three ways (at 1/3 each per group). At the end of its fiscal (or calendar) year, the HMO gross profits will be divided equally among the three (the foundation and two co-ops).

Once it is operational in Sorsogon as a pilot project, it can be replicated in 80 other provinces. The Sorsoganon HMO can be a template for other provincial ventures and even the Third World.

This journalist has also been campaigning with his friends in the KP for it to be turned like its coming Philippine counterpart. The KP reportedly has recently been earning between $12-to-14 billion (spelled with a “B”) in net profit per year. The KP does not pay any corporate income tax, as it is a not-for-profit, and a public-benefit, juridical entity. Members and subscribers include profit-sharing proceeds in their individual income tax returns. My proposal will generate taxes for the government when the HMO employees.

The KP and its medical facilities have been threatened by nurses and other medical employees’ strikes for the same reasons that medical staffers (especially nurses) in Minnesota have waged in 2016 and this month. The DrRizal.com HMO idea will cut down gripes coming from employees and HMO members and subscribers. Why? Because theoretically, the three ownership groups will be able to control at least a third (each) of the members of the HMO Board of Directors.

But the HMO idea has been ignored by Filipino and Sorsoganon policy and decision-makers and the KP.org Board of Directors.

If Floridians someday vote for their version of the DrRizal.com HMO idea, they can start the collapse of the Amazon Care operations. And probably many, if not a majority, of the for-profit medical ventures — from hospitals to medical insurers in the United States will also go bankrupt.

Incidentally, DrRizal.com is named after the Filipino foremost national hero, Jose P. Rizal, who was a physician that specialized in eye care and surgery. He was educated in the Philippines and Spain; and operated an eye clinic in Hong Kong, then a British colony. The then-Spanish colonial authorities martyred him by firing squad in the City of Manila on Dec. 30, 1896. An act of the Philippine Congress established the Order of the Knights of Rizal (OKR). This columnist is an OKR member, with a third-degree rank, as a Knight Commander of Rizal. But even the OKR Board of Trustees has refused to comment on the DrRizal.com HMO proposal.

The readers’ educated guesses are just as good as this journalist’s guess why the said proposal has been ignored. The power brokers of the Philippines, Sorsogon Province, the OKR, and even KP.org, are indifferent to truly “reinventing” the healthcare industry. Perhaps the influential, rich-and-famous (if not infamous) leaders do not want healthcare to become universal and affordable to all who need it.
And yes, Amazon thinks (and allegedly) that it can profit by the tens of billions of American greenbacks yearly with its own “reinvention” of healthcare. And without allegedly even paying the right amount of corporate taxes for all its vast income and financial windfall — as it has been doing supposedly in the past years.

Perhaps it is time to remind Corporate America and vested interests that “We, the People,” are the real bosses and decision-makers. Yes, it is time to tell them that fundamental reforms in healthcare must be done. Because affordable and back-to-basics, healthcare is a human right. And not the exclusive perk of the captains of American industry and stock manipulators on Wall Street.

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