Comments on: Experts weigh in on nonprofit healthcare cooperatives Thu, 21 Jul 2016 07:57:19 +0000 hourly 1 By: Sally Alexander Wed, 19 Aug 2009 15:06:18 +0000 As the HR person in a small company of 12 aging employees I feel that a co-op would be the perfect solution. What I need is to be part of a larger group that doesn’t have to go thru that horrible under-writing process only to be rated up to the highest rate.

By: Craig Wed, 12 Aug 2009 02:57:39 +0000 Hi,
I’m Canadian and like the vast majority of my countrymen, I am happy with our health care because we spend less, live longer, and have lower infant mortality rates than our American cousins. The Canadian government spends less per capita than the US government, but the really convincing proof for myself is that in total (government and private) we spend roughly 2/3 of what is spent per capita in the US.

I know of no one who has had to mortgage their house because they got sick in Canada because we consider access to healthcare a right, not a privilege. There are some failings and in particular we are fighting to get wait times down for some procedures, but my extended family and I have never had any problems getting the care we need, when we need it.

Many Americans may not be aware that the CBC (our largest and most influential broadcaster) recently ran a competition to determine who the greatest Canadian of all time was as voted on by millions of Canadians. It included our founding fathers, Wayne Gretzky, Brian Adams and many others, but the man who won was Tommy Douglas, the inventor and Prime Minister responsible for our public health care system.

In a nut shell, we Canadians would never trade our system, it works well, and I think that it would be wise and fiscally prudent to consider its merits as well as its failures.

By: Shawn Tue, 11 Aug 2009 19:46:04 +0000 1. The Rural Electric Cooperatives in this coutry have been competing quite well for decades, despite their competitive disadvantages (ie, lower density and higher cost per customer) their members pay some of the lowest electric rates in the country.

2. Even if the cooperatives paid the same rate to doctors as any of the insurance companies, their plan would be cheaper for their members because the profit that goes to investor-owned insurance shareholders would instead be returned to the members of the cooperative.

3. Why would it matter if private insurance companies were forced to compete (as investor owned utilities do in the power world)? Mr. Pitts, the cooperative is not a “government” system. Insolvency would still have to be avoided. Why wouldn’t it be? It would be run by a board of directors elected by the insureds and, ideally, independent of government control.

By: Constantine Thu, 06 Aug 2009 01:18:33 +0000 Should we not try to fix and or make revisions to the current healthcare system rather than reinventing the wheel? If the govenment thinks that co-op programs can compete they are sadly mistaken. Doctors and medical facilities are choosing not to accept medicare patients because of the small reimbursements they receive…..Is the government going to reimburse the doctors more than what the insurance companies reimburse them? I think not!

By: allen Tue, 04 Aug 2009 07:18:16 +0000 why don’t congress just stop working on healthcare and allow the people decide what they would like to have?
our children and grandchildren will have to pay for all the programs that th;is administration had started, and please don’t tell me that it they were needed.

By: B.Free Sun, 02 Aug 2009 15:32:35 +0000 The only reason the government is walking down the federal insurance or federal non-profit path is because it is to much of a coward to do the right thing. The only way to ensure the that the people of the US are not being ripped off and get the proper health care they deserve is for the government to capitalize the health care industry and offer its services to all. First this eliminates health insurance totally. Second, if forces the providers of pharmaceuticals, equipment and other supplies to deal with the government if they want to sell their products. No longer will you see these companies as the top earners of the Fortune 500 and raking in outrageous profits at the Peoples expense. Many may think that the government cannot handle such a task but I ask you to remember that the government has been in this business for many years. They already run a health care service with hospitals across this nation. They service our men and women in uniform and their dependents and retirees and have been doing a very good job for a very long time. Such a step would eliminate totally the insurance profits from the equation. It would control costs by limiting law suits and pharmaceutical profits. We need to understand where costs come from. I do not think most of us would want to cut costs that directly effect our care. It is these unnecessary profits these corporations are skimming off our us we want to eliminate. If you force limits on wait times you can insure that the necessary services are available when needed. It is unfortunate that as long as we continue to use income tax as the main source of revenue for our government that only those with above board income will be paying for all this health care. This would be more fair if we replace the income tax with a national sales tax. Then even illegal aliens and gangsters would be paying their fair share for this program.

By: melissa Robert Fri, 31 Jul 2009 16:09:49 +0000 Eighty percent of Americans have health insurance and of those 80%, 70% are pleased with it, therefore, I think the word ‘crisis’ needs to be removed from the discussion.
In President Obama’s news conference his slip of the tongue revealed much. He either stated or implied that physician’s make medical decisions based upon their reimbursement. This is offensive, and not globally true enough to account for the ‘high cost of health care’ in this country. I think his inclusion of this comment in a nationally televised media event reveals that he sees the major contributors to the problem in the health care delivery system as being greedy insurance companies and physicians.
Heads up: Primary care physicians make the same per visit regardless of the outcome of the visit. This means that if I diagnose you with tonsillitis and give you a prescription for an antibiotic OR if I do that and refer you for a surgical consultation for a tonsillectomy I AM REIMBURSED THE SAME. Primary care physicians bill in accordance with billing codes (created by the government once Medicare/Medicaid were established) based on medical complexity and to a lesser extent labs ordered to diagnose the problem.
Insurers (these monstrous monopolizing companies) profit margins are under 10%.
Pharmaceutical companies profit margins are 80%.
The majority of the current expenses in health care occur in the emergency room. These billing codes are higher, and rightfully so as the seriousness and complexity of problems managed in these settings require more time and resources. HOWEVER, the ER in our country is over run with the uninsured, the Medicaid population (no copays for utilization) most of whom either cannot or will not access a PCP for routine issues. It “costs” an incredible amount MORE MONEY to treat non emergent conditions (i.e ear infections, colds, minor scrapes) in the ER. Do not underestimate this contribution to our problem
In addition, the next big major cost to our health care system occurs in the intensive care units – i.e the elderly, the neonates, the traumatically injured and deathly ill. The amount of money it costs to provide this kind of care is beyond belief (physicians, equipment, ancillary staff, medications, research, etc). For the cost cutting measures our President has suggested, I suspect that a million incidents of cost savings would have to occur to pay for a single person’s care in the above mentioned situation. I am not exaggerating.
In a public run insurance program the intensely ill will be affected – do not kid yourself. The care to these patients is astronomical and NOT because there are 20ish% of the American population un/underinsured. Older individuals for whom hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars of care would not be cost effective WILL BE DENIED – where will their recourse lie? If they do not have the money to foot the bill like a more wealthy individual they will simply be at the mercy of a government program. And premature infants (for whom outcomes have become impressively awesome over the past 20 years) with brain, lung, gastrointestinal, surgical, nutritional, ophthalmolgical, cardiac and developmental issues spanning several years of treatment – what of them?
These are the types of specifics that actually do matter and have not been addressed. I think the informed American people do care about the details as one’s ability to discuss them reveals that person’s understanding of the full issues involved in the problem.
Finally, since so much of the cost of health care takes place in hospital emergency rooms where litigations are the highest (ER doctors and OBGYN’s have the highest malpractice insurance of all healthcare providers because they are named in claims most often – in the ER generally because there is little time for patient/doctor relationship to transpire) WHY IS NO ONE DISCUSSING TORT REFORM? Has it become that cliche? Can we please hear a discussion at least regarding the impact this has on the cost of health care? Why not address multiple elements of the problem, rather than just focusing on getting people insured?
I am for charity. I am for seeing a people and need and acting on it – as an individual. I am not for the impersonal, largely unaccountable federal government trying to do MY JOB. If you know someone struggling – help them. Pay for something they need. Give them advice. Give an opportunity.

By: Dan Fri, 31 Jul 2009 15:51:17 +0000 QUICK: The government takes care of high catastrophic costs for patients. Private handles costs less than 3X paid premiums and government takes costs greater than 3X paid premiums

The one solution not mentioned in the whole debate is the insurer of last resort. The primary reason for private insurance being expensive and hard to get for those that really need it is that they can not make a profit from really sick people. Those that have an income too high for medicaid but also have a pre-existing condition are the people who are the problem(not those people personally). The for-profit or non-profit would both have trouble with them. Neither wants to lose money. Instead I propose that the government comes in as the insurer of last resort. They would not sell direct insurance but would instead provide a fund that could be tapped when an individual incurs a bills that are 3X what they have paid in premiums (number can be modified). The insurance companies would have the incentive to hold down costs and plan premiums, while being able to offer insurance to more people. In return a few regulations could be added like; people can not be dropped if premiums paid and pre-existing conditions can affect rates but policies can not be refused.

The rate of insured is increased, cost can be reduced, and government is used only when it really is needed. Just don’t kid yourself that the government option is going to compete fairly. That is like the NFL refs getting together and forming their own team.

By: Jamie Fri, 31 Jul 2009 15:06:41 +0000 “…both would sound the death knell of private insurance by tilting the playing field irrevocably in the government’s favor.”

Has anyone else noticed how the argument regularly comes down to an ideological preference for private insurance rather than any founded claim that private insurance actually yields better health?

Am I the only one who thinks that the goal of healthcare should be healthy people (versus healthy profits)?

By: Sue Thu, 30 Jul 2009 22:06:14 +0000 Why are experts saying that the co-op idea isn’t effective? I’ve been a member of an electric co-op. The service was amazing. The people were great. And they didn’t raise rates for 17 years. 17 years! (The same can certainly not be said of the for-profit power company in the area, which appeared to raise rates every other year.) In addition, any profit made was paid back to the members of the co-op, and for seven years, I enjoyed a reduced electric bill every December. Given the chance, virtually everyone in the area would have jumped to the co-op in a second.

There are some highly effective health-care co-ops already existing in this country (Washington state, for example, which has over 500,000 members if I remember correctly). And in those areas of the country, they “surprisingly” enjoy reduced health-care costs and better health-care results.

The opponents of co-ops are generally the businesses that have to compete with them. Understandably. This is why many have dissolved, rather than because they were ineffective. A health-care co-op option could be a brilliant solution. At this time, we need more details, but I for one am encouraged to see that our government is for once considering a new idea. One that could actually work.