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How do they do it? Public-private partnerships and universal healthcare

David Lawrence's picture

I pay through the nose for health insurance for my family, and I’m not happy about it. As a U.S. citizen, I don’t have the luxury of government-backed healthcare. Since I’m technically self-employed, I have to pay the full premium myself. Want some figures? It costs me $830 a month for a family of four, with a high deductible. Besides being expensive, it takes a huge effort to deal with insurance issues, and I find that my provider is expert at finding reasons not to reimburse me for medical expenses. This is chewing a gaping hole in my budget. The only way I’ll ever get value for my money is if I’m hit by a bus.

Healthcare services? Yes, please!

David Lawrence's picture

I could tell something wasn’t quite right with the electrician. He was standing stiffly, poking at the wires in the circuit breaker panel, his face pale, his breathing labored. My wife offered him a cup of tea and asked if he was OK. 

“I’m fine,” he said. “I just had a little surgery yesterday.” He kept working until he fixed the wiring; only then did he accept the tea. Then he told us his story.

Which gives more bang for the buck, deworming or OLPC?

Ryan Hahn's picture

A recent article by Timothy Ogden (Computer Error?) provides a pretty clear answer: forget the glitzy computers, and put your scarce resources into the provision of deworming pills. The One Laptop per Child (OLPC) program provides computers at around $200 a pop, while deworming pills cost between 50 cents and 4 dollars per student per year. All the control trials of computers in classrooms have given—at best—ambiguous results.

Involving the public in public private partnerships

Call them taxpayers, citizens, or just simply the public—they are the reason why public private partnerships (PPPs) are created. They are the users and the ultimate financiers, whether by paying taxes or tolls, and they want to have a bigger role in decisions about what infrastructure shall be built and how. It’s no surprise that public opinion is the ultimate judge of the success of PPP projects.

The civil war of the self

Ryan Hahn's picture

I recently blogged about a website that allows people to bet with themselves on whether they will achieve certain weight loss goals. The smart minds behind the website, Dean Karlan and Jonathan Zinman, have provided an answer to the question I posed at the end of that post - are there any better uses to which we could put these kinds of commitment devices?