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.
Spotlight

Throughout the week, Here & Now is looking at the impact a raise in the minimum wage would have on states, the federal government and workers.

Robin and Jeremy

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

A Candid Conversation With Public Radio’s Diane Rehm

The radio show host discusses her husband's illness and their often fraught marriage.

The Average Millennial Is Nothing Like The Stereotypes

Data shows that the average 29-year-old did not graduate from a four-year university and is living in a suburb.

Examining The Call For Increasing The Minimum Wage

Here & Now looks at the impact a raise would have on states, the federal government and workers themselves.

April 29 17 Comments

What’s A Delegate? And Why Do We Even Have Them In The First Place?

Here & Now's Robin Young speaks with Richard Pacelle, professor of political science at the University of Tennessee, to find some answers.