Monday, August 17, 2009

PoliticsUSA: Healthcare: Sen Kent Conrad (D) defends the Co-ops Plan for Healthcare

Jonathan Weisman reports from Washington in the Politics section of Wall Street Journal (Aug8,2k9).

Critics on the left say the co-ops are unlikely to present real competition, while some observers say starting an insurer of the size Sen. Conrad envisions would present enormous practical difficulties.

In a paper this summer, investment firm Oppenheimer & Co. concluded that start-up insurance cooperatives would lack the expertise to price premiums appropriately or manage the cases of members. The paper said they also would be too small to press doctors and hospitals for lower costs.

Running a health insurer is "not exactly like running your local milk cooperative," Oppenheimer researchers concluded. The Government Accountability Office, the watchdog arm of Congress, came to a similar conclusion in a March 2000 report.

The advantage of the cooperatives might be political.

"It is the only plan that has bipartisan support in the Senate," said Sen. Conrad, a centrist from North Dakota who hatched the co-op plan in June. "It's quite clear the public option does not have the votes."

The idea envisions individuals and small businesseses banding together in member-owned, not-for-profit cooperatives that would offer insurance to their members.
I recommend you click-up the article and read it.

Meantime, there's this item from Jamestown Sun:
Sen. Kent Conrad (D, ND) presented his cooperative health care proposal here Thursday [in his homestate] and told an audience of 100 that he would not vote for a government-run health care program.

Conrad stopped in Carrington as part of his a statewide tour touting the Senate Finance Committee's cooperative health care proposal.
Still nothing from CPJ USA.

-- Politicarp

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