There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.
– Victor Hugo
Cowboy Health Plan
There is a solution to our Health Care Crises in Wyoming and America.
“More than a century ago, a form of “universal” health care started right here in Wyoming—among cowboys and cattlemen on the open range in the… 1880s.
In 1885, during the height of the cattle boom on the Wyoming range, dozens of range cowboys and their employers got together and formed the “Fetterman Hospital Association.” Each cowboy who subscribed would have $1 taken from his paycheck each month. It was a considerable sum when the average wage was, at the most, $80 a month. The cowboy was promised the full range of medical services.
During its first six months, the association signed up 219 individual cowboys. The 20 largest cattle companies in the area agreed to enroll each of their cowboys.
With the money… the association bought an abandoned army barracks at Fort Fetterman, near Douglas, for their hospital. The association remodeled the building into a hospital and paid two attendants to staff the facility.
The cowboy on the open range of 19th century Wyoming was no fool when it came to health care, but bad economic times, individual greed, increasing corporate power, and lack of government oversight were too much for his tiny cooperative…” – Dr. Phil Roberts
It worked back then. Cowboys generally received $30 a month, and to be a member of the Association, one dollar a month (1/30th of their wages) was taken from their paycheck. In return, Dr. Amos Barber (the doctor who initiated and organized the plan) promised each cowboy member that if they were injured, they would be given complete medical care until they were well enough to ride out of the hospital at Fort Fetterman.
Here’s how it would work today:
First, there will be a level playing field… no tax breaks, no exceptions… NADA!
Every person in the United States would have to put in 1/30th of their yearly profits.
The Kicker: The Supreme Court, in their infinite wisdom, made a person out of a corporation, so every corporate body in America would have to fork over 1/30th of their yearly profits. Not only would this pay for Universal Health Care (Medicare for All), there would be monies left over for Infrastructure, Victims of Natural Disasters, and probably the National Parks, It’s the Cowboy Way; simple and works.
It’s the Cowboy Way; it’s simple and it works.
About the Author: Mark Harvey worked as a cowboy, sheepherder, hunting guide, and horseshoer for over fifteen years until a bad horse wreck sent him back to school. After attending CWC for a semester, he went on to the University of Wyoming, where he eventually received a Master’s Degree in American Studies; his thesis covered the Johnson County War. The last twenty years of his working life was being a surveyor for various outfits. He is now retired and living outside of Cody, WY.