Archive Links

Consumer Archive
CU System Archive
Market Archive
Products Archive
Washington Archive
150x172_CUEffect.jpg
Contacts
LISA MCCUEVICE PRESIDENT OF COMMUNICATIONS
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
MICHELLE WILLITSManaging Editor
RON JOOSSASSISTANT EDITOR
ALEX MCVEIGHSTAFF NEWSWRITER
TOM SAKASHSTAFF NEWSWRITER

News Now

CU System
Cooperatives at center of health care debate
WASHINGTON (8/19/09)--Cooperatives have become a new buzzword as legislators consider proposals to reform the health care industry. The National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) this week educated media about what a cooperative is and mentioned credit unions prominently as a good cooperative business model the government could follow. NCBA President/CEO Paul Hazen has been featured in BusinessWeek and The Washington Times, as well as WTOP-Radio; Channel 6 News in Tulsa, Okla.; WGN-Radio's "Greg Jarrett News Show" in Chicago and Christian Broadcasting Network's CBN News during the past two days. Adam Schwartz, NCBA vice president of public affairs and member services, was featured on Minnesota Public Radio. They discussed the proposal to use co-ops instead of a government-run insurance option as part of health care reform. The proposal, that cooperatives could serve as a model for health insurance cooperatives, was made by Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), whose state gets much of its electricity through utilities cooperatives. The proposal would cost about $6 billion in startup funding in the form of federal grants or loans. While the plan is appealing, since cooperatives are owned and run by their members, the public must first understand cooperatives more clearly before making a judgment, said Hazen. Unlike today's health insurance companies, cooperatives' purpose is to provide services to people, not to maximize profit, he said. Any health care reform needs to address fundamental issues such as the escalating cost of health care. More than 300 health care cooperatives already exist in parts of the country, including Arizona, California, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Washington state. But they don't underwrite and sell health insurance. They simply negotiate the rates on pre-existing plans with health insurance companies (Business Week Aug. 17). To operate as Conrad has proposed would mean the co-ops would need to enough members to reach scale so they could competitively negotiate directly with health care providers--doctors, hospitals and drug companies--Hazen told several of the media. Many cooperatives familiar to Americans are owned and run by farmers. The model closer to what the health insurance program would look like is a credit union, he told The Washington Times (Aug. 18) and CBN News. Co-ops work best when developed from the ground up, not the top down, he told the Times. A co-op's success should be judged over a 10- to 20-year period, not as a quick fix to the nation's health care problems. NCBA can't endorse or reject the proposal until it knows exactly how the insurance cooperatives will be set up and regulated, Hazen said. The key would be how the health co-ops would be organized. "We need more information. The public cannot meaningfully engage this debate unless the (Senate) Finance Committee releases more information," he said. NCBA says there are 29,284 cooperatives in the U.S. generating more than $652 billion in revenue, $75 billion in income and more than two million jobs. Cooperatives account for roughly 1% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product ($154 billion of $14 trillion).
Other Resources

RSS





print
News Now LiveWire
Record # of applicants for Crash the GAC means every state & D.C. will B represented by young #CU professional at #CUNAGAC #crashthegac15
15 hours ago
.@WOCCU and @CUNA are co-hosting 2015 America’s CU Conference July 12-15 in Denver. Registration is open here: http://t.co/FanFeaO0bC
15 hours ago
Recording of @CUNA Jan. 26 #rbc2 webinar is now available online here: http://t.co/jgxkd65Fj0 Just sign in and listen.
15 hours ago
.@SEC_News 2/19 proxy voting roundtable: contested director elections, increasing retail shareholder participation http://t.co/8k0p6ZvNL8
16 hours ago
.@TheNCUA posted resources 2 help consumers protect themselves,take action if they believe they were ID theft victims:http://t.co/HVaikbuT9H
17 hours ago