PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Tuesday, October 1, 2013

High Excitement In Overlooked Part Of Health Care Rollout

One group of insurers opening for business today under the Affordable Care Act is out to change all of health care: health care cooperatives.

The co-ops are private non-profits offering insurance to individuals and small employers through the new health care exchanges. They emerged as a compromise, after Congress rejected a government-run insurance. They’re meant to compete with larger, commercial insurance companies.

The original idea was to have a co-op in every state, but Congress cut the start up funding, and only 22 co-ops open for business today, with another two expected to be up and running in the next few months.

Co-ops face several challenges, including limits on how they can spend their start-up money from the government. They are not allowed use it for advertising, for example, which presents a challenge in enrolling customers. They also lack the volume which would allow them to negotiate better rates with hospitals and drug companies.

Sabrina Corlette of Georgetown University Health Policy Institute, who thinks co-ops could be a good idea, wrote an analysis for Kaiser Health News lamenting co-ops’ disadvantages: “Unfortunately, the law forces these new plans to compete for market share with one hand tied behind their backs.”

Critics on the right say co-ops will end up wasting taxpayer money.

Despite the constraints, directors of the co-ops are optimistic and excited.

“We’re sort of in the eye of the hurricane right now. But it’s an exciting hurricane,” Janie Miller, CEO of Kentucky Health Cooperative told Kaiser Health News.

“We bring a completely different paradigm to health care finance,” John Morrison, president of the National Alliance of State Health Coops added. “We’re not interested in making as much money as we can. We’re not interested in making profits. What we are interested in is making consumer patients healthy and saving money.”

Guest


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

May 26 4 Comments

As Lethal Heroin Overdose Numbers Rise, Families Find Solace In Organ Donation

Organ banks around the country have noted an increasing number of organs from donors who have died of overdoses.

May 26 3 Comments

NEADS Assistance Dog Bailey Graduates From Service Dog Training

NEADS provides dogs like Bailey, a yellow Labrador, for deaf and disabled Americans.

May 25 Comment

Celebrating The Class Of 2016: Peace Odiase

Odiase is one of two valedictorians at Fisk University, a historically black college in Nashville, Tennessee.

May 25 7 Comments

NEADS Service Dog Meets His Match

Here & Now has been tracking service dog Bailey, who recently met his new owner, since last year.