Health reform: Is Obama’s move to co-ops a good one?

In an effort to gain more political support — inside and outside the Beltway — the Obama administration appears willing to embrace insurance cooperatives over a government-run plan, Associated Press reports.

Some believe the government would be much better at containing insurance companies than co-ops would be. Others oppose such direct intervention in the market.

Under a proposal by Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., consumer-owned nonprofit cooperatives would sell insurance in competition with private industry. With $3 billion to $4 billion in initial support from the government, the co-ops would operate under a national structure with state affiliates, but independent of the government.

Is this a good move? Does it change your mind on supporting or opposing health care reform?

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter.

39 comments Add your comment


August 17th, 2009
6:43 am

The notion that a public option or some other method is necessary to “contain” insurance companies is absurd. Insurance companies are already heavily regulated by state governments. Furthermore, an insurance policy is a contract that is enforceable as any other contract is. An insurance company is far more accountable than the government.

Health insurance is expensive because health care is expensive. This fact will not change if government becomes the insurer.


August 17th, 2009
6:44 am

We need yet another new bureaucracy? It’s very sad that people don’t already perceive the government as a so-called “co-op”. Isn’t the government “owned” by its citizens? And where will the computer and human infrastructure come from to run these “co-ops”? Tell the truth…computer systems and human infrastructure to administer the co-ops will be outsourced to the health care insurance companies.


August 17th, 2009
7:02 am



August 17th, 2009
7:04 am

The plan is total socialism if not worse.


August 17th, 2009
7:06 am

• Page 16: States that if you have insurance at the time of the bill becoming law and change, you will be required to take a similar plan. If that is not available, you will be required to take the government option!
• Page 22: Mandates audits of all employers that self-insure!
• Page 29: Admission: your health care will be rationed!
• Page 30: A government committee will decide what treatments and benefits you get (and, unlike an insurer, there will be no appeals process)
• Page 42: The “Health Choices Commissioner” will decide health benefits for you. You will have no choice. None.
• Page 50: All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free healthcare services.
• Page 58: Every person will be issued a National ID Healthcard.
• Page 59: The federal government will have direct, real-time access to all individual bank accounts for electronic funds transfer.
• Page 65: Taxpayers will subsidize all union retiree and community organizer health plans (example: SEIU, UAW and ACORN)
• Page 72: All private healthcare plans must conform to government rules to participate in a Healthcare Exchange.
• Page 84: All private healthcare plans must participate in the Healthcare Exchange (i.e., total government control of private plans)
• Page 91: Government mandates linguistic infrastructure for services; translation: illegal aliens
• Page 95: The Government will pay ACORN and Americorps to sign up individuals for Government-run Health Care plan.
• Page 102: Those eligible for Medicaid will be automatically enrolled: you have no choice in the matter.
• Page 124: No company can sue the government for price-fixing. No “judicial review” is permitted against the government monopoly. Put simply, private insurers will be crushed.
• Page 127: The AMA sold doctors out: the government will set wages.
• Page 145: An employer MUST auto-enroll employees into the government-run public plan. No alternatives.
• Page 126: Employers MUST pay healthcare bills for part-time employees AND their families.
• Page 149: Any employer with a payroll of $400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays an 8% tax on payroll
• Page 150: Any employer with a payroll of $250K-400K or more, who does not offer the public option, pays a 2 to 6% tax on payroll


August 17th, 2009
7:17 am

Why NOT ?

1. In an effort to avoid inaction & bankruptcy, there is no denying Single-Payer Plan is the most cost-effective way, and the Public / Private Option is a partial adoption of it. At present, roughly 20 million of the uninsured are young adults, the possible enrollees of lower costs, accordingly, this partial adoption could be more cost-effective than the full one by ratio, not to mention volume.

2. As common sense goes, in terms of fire, preventing it ahead or containing it in earlier phase is the most sensible cost containment of all, and the essential and most cost-saving preventive care programs call for expansive investments of non-profit.

3. One of three pillars in a new foundation, this health care redesign, to be sure, is going to lead to much-needed massive job creation.

4. We need to accept Sebelius’ remark this way; If the death panel is true, she is willing to open the door for deficit-driven nonsense.

5. Good News !

A staff writer at The New Yorker and some experts have examined Medicare data from the successful hospitals of 10 regions, and they have found evidence that more effective, lower-cost care is possible. Thankfully, the provisions in the reform include more expansive policies than they have.

Please be ’sure’ to visit for credible evidences !

Some have followed the Mayo model with salaried doctors employed, Other regions, too, have found ways to protect patients against the pursuit of revenues over patient.
And a cardiac surgeon of them said they had adopted electronic systems, examined the data and found that a shocking portion of tests were almost certainly unnecessary, possibly harmful.

According to analysis, their quality scores are well above average. Yet they spend more than $1,500 (16 percent) less per Medicare patient than the national average and have a slower real annual growth rate (3 percent versus 3.5 percent nationwide).

Surprisingly, 16 % of about $550 billion (the total of medicare cost per year) is around $88 billion per year, except for Medicaid (total cost of around $500 billion per year), medicare ‘alone’ can save $880 billion over the next decade.

In addition, under the reform package, along with the already allocated $583 billion, the wastes involving so called “doughnut hole” , the unnecessary subsidies for insurers, abuse, exorbitant costs by the tragic ER visits etc are weeded out, the concern over revenue (below) might be a thing of the past.

(( Net Medicare and Medicaid savings of $465 billion + the $583 billion revenue package = $1048 billion – the previously estimated $1.042 trillion cost of reform = $6 billion surplus – $245 billion (the 10-year cost of adjusting Medicare reimbursement rates so physicians don’t face big annual pay cuts) = the estimated deficit of $239 billion ))

In modernized society, the business lacking IT system is unthinkable just like pre-electricity period, nevertheless, the last thing to expect is happening now in the sector requiring the best accuracy in respect to dealing with human lives. Apparently the errors by no e-medical records have spawned the crushing lawsuits (Medical malpractice lawsuits cost at least $150 billion per year), and these costs have led to the unnecessary tests, treatments, even more profits so far. And in different parts of the U.S., patients get two to three times as much care for the same disease, with the same result.

Please note that the U.S. system is the most expensive, wasteful structure to leave enough room to save in the planet, with the best practices available neglected.

Thank You !


August 17th, 2009
7:24 am

GB give me a break – insurance companies are not accountable to anyone besides their own shareholders – just like every other for-profit corporation. Their is an inherent conflict of interest between insurance corporations and doctors and patients. Insurance corporations exist to make money, which means generating as much revenue as possible while cutting expenditures as much as possible. That does NOT lend itself to affordable premiums or a willingness to pay out even when an MD is making the determination for appropriate treatment.

The health care providers in this country are the best in the world, but the access system to that great health care blows. Health care, at least at the most basic level of routine tests and check-ups, should be a right, not a privilege. And maybe if the last administration had bothered to address this issue in the last eight years, you wouldn’t be faced with the “socialist changes” you face now. Too bad, so sad for you. At least Obama is willing to make some compromises from what he wants – time for the right to take a grown-up pill as well.


August 17th, 2009
7:50 am


FACT: Democrats’ Plan Imposes 2.5% Tax On Uninsured Individuals. “The penalty assessed on people who would be subject to the mandate but did not obtain insurance would equal 2.5 percent of the difference between their adjusted gross income (modified to include tax-exempt interest and certain other sources of income) and the tax filing threshold ..


Rhetoric: President Obama Promises No Additional Taxes On Middle Class. “What I’ve said is, and I have stuck to this point, I don’t want to see additional tax burdens on people making $250,000 a year or less.” (NBC’s “Today Show,” 7/21/09)


August 17th, 2009
7:54 am

100 PAGES AT A TIME,NOT 1000 OR MORE on all bills.
READ THE BILL!!!!!!!!!!!!

rightwingers are idiots

August 17th, 2009
7:57 am

Check Snopes, Factcheck or Politifact before you prove yourself to be an idiot Bill.

Check the above link to see that Bill’s “breakdown” is paranoid fantasy just like the “Birther” crap, Death Panel crap and whatever else the latest smears the right can make up. Lies travel around the world multiple times these days before the truth can catch up. The same arguments being made about health care reform were made against Social Security and Medicare before thety were implemented. How many are willing to give those up?


August 17th, 2009
7:57 am

National Right to Life

WASHINGTON (Updated August 11, 2009) – The U.S. House and U.S. Senate are expected to vote after Labor Day on “health care reform” bills that, in their current forms, could produce the greatest expansion of abortion since Roe v. Wade — including a new nationwide insurance plan, run entirely by the federal government, that would cover elective abortions.


August 17th, 2009
7:59 am


When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.COME NOV.


August 17th, 2009
8:05 am

I don’t know. I am still digesting this co-op plan, but all I can tell you is this: those thousands of people waiting in line for healthcare made us look like a 3rd world country to the rest of the world. I know that people say that they don’t care about what the rest of the world thinks- but our economy is global, and I can guarantee that we have lost jobs in the US as a result. Why? Because it has already happened.

But I am for Universal healthcare. Be it a co-op plan via non-profit or a straight government plan. But I would like to ask someone this: If the initial investment into a non-profit organization is from the government, and if there are restrictions and further regulations concerning this plan- complete with a governmental body providing oversight- is that really just another form of a government plan???


August 17th, 2009
8:23 am

Obama proposes socialized control of medicine without addressing the causes of high health care costs. Government programs are all failures compared to free market systems. Government failed operating the post office, Amtrack, Cars 4 Clunkers, Department of Motor Vehicles, US public schools, US border patrol, Federal Reserve, Fannie Mae & Freddy Mac, Medicare, Social Security, and NASA. Government caused the high cost of medicine. Government must first clean up the mess they made.

1. Tort reform. Reduce physician insurance premiums so they can stop practicing defensive medicine.

2. Stop the American Medical Association from artificially limiting the supply of doctors and nurses. We need twice as many just to serve the customers without adding another sixty million more customers.

3. All the expensive chronic USA health problems are related to poor nutrition. Specifically fruits and vegetables are too expensive for average Americans because the government does not allow farmers to grow fruits and vegetables if they participate in a corn, beans, wheat, rice, cotton… crop program. It is unethical for a government to deliberately starve its people.

4. FDA/Pharmaceutical monopoly on medicines must be broken. It should not cost $50 million for a small company to introduce a new medicine.

5. Individuals must be personally responsible for the cost of health care. Eliminate government subsidy of insurance, and business/work related health care. Third party payer must end.

6. Illegal aliens and poor must stop abusing and using emergency rooms as a source of free health care. Deport the aliens and address the high costs issues above so that poor people can afford medical care.

7. Give physicians an incentive to practice preventive medicine. Most of them are clueless to begin with. They make the big bucks from cleaning up the mess they make by failing to counsel prevention.

8. Medicare is $40 Trillion underfunded socialist welfare medicine. Fix it first before you expand coverage to another 50 million people.


August 17th, 2009
8:26 am

On Page 425 of Obama’s health care bill, the Federal Government will require EVERYONE who is on Social Security to undergo a counseling session every 5 years with the objective being that they will explain to them just how to end their own life earlier. Yes… They are going to push SUICIDE to cut Medicare spending!!! And no, I am NOT KIDDING YOU! So those of you who voted for Obama have now put yourself and your own parents in dire straights… Congratulations!



August 17th, 2009
8:38 am

What is the point without the public option and reduced drug prices. WTF are all you afraid of? He’s only said a thousand times “it will not affect the insured”. Would you please shut up and let the less fortunate folk get some care already!!!!

I’m 41, a roofer since 16 (broken home). I have never had any insurance. Not exactly a priority for us poor folk. The light bill and food out weight it. So for the love of god would you please tell me why all the INS people don’t want folks like myself to get care????

Oh my children are covered by Medicaid (which you morons pay for) but If mom or me gets hit in the head, oh well… Stupid.

Here’s a novel idea let the mac daddy (obama) make it affordable and I can get my family covered and off the tax payers plan.

But hey you genius have it all figured out right? Then keep paying (taxes) and we’ll keep pumping them out for you to cover… thx… lol… stupid…


August 17th, 2009
8:50 am


You paranoid delusional psycho. First of all to just interject a little logic and reasoning into your rants…how could you have read the bill? What version of the bill are you talking about? There are at least three working versions of “the bill” working its way through Congress. Go to the Kaiser Family Foundation website and read the cogent detailed analysis with point by point comparisons. That might your delusional rantings and solidify or dispel some of your arguments. Assuming of course that you want to actually learn what the bills are about.


August 17th, 2009
8:51 am

HealthCare Reform

The government needs to leave the healthcare alone. the ONLY things that should be done are: 1. Create a fund for the poor/uninsured to acquire their own healthcare. 2. Make it possible for people to carry their insurance from job to job 3. Give insurances to compete state to state 4. Don’t allow them to drop people when they get devastating illness or cancer. Otherwise leave our insurance alone! I don’t want the invasive things this healthcare bill has! I don’t want government in my healthcare. If you are not aware what is in the bill,READ IT!!


August 17th, 2009
8:55 am

And Pam a little debate help for you too. When you reference a press article that states something “could” happen, doesn’t mean that it will or that its even likely. Its literary license taken by reporting institution to stir up fear or get more attention to their publications. And I’m curious…does Right to Life mean all life, or just the unborn?


August 17th, 2009
9:02 am

Hey Irate,

Can you give us some points that didn’t look like they come a lobbyist’s handbook. For example, the Tort Reform you mentioned has been a favorite talking point and stumbling block to serious health reform for the last 15 years at least. And 40 Trillion dollar Medicare???? Where do those figures come from…please present evidence not talking points. 40 Trillion just sounds soooo made up, I’d love to be proven wrong.

rightwingers are idiots

August 17th, 2009
9:02 am

Exodus 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness – This forbids, Speaking falsely in any matter, lying, equivocating, and any way devising and designing to deceive our neighbour. Yet when it comes to derailing Healthcare reform i guess the so-called right wing Christians forget such things.

John you can join Bill on the idiot train to Moronville! Are people so gullible to think the bill has death panels? BTW Counseling was originally proposed & backed by republicans years ago!! the bill does not REQUIRE counseling, not that TRUTH is your goal but their are so many sources that debunk this smear but check this one out-


August 17th, 2009
9:10 am

Hey Dave…

You’ve read “the” Bill then? Which one? Here are your Choices:

Senate Finance Committee
Policy Options Bill

Senate HELP Committee
Affordable Health Choices Act

House Tri-Committee
America’s Affordable Health
Choices Act of 2009
(H.R. 3200)

Please enlighten us as to which parts of these bills are going to intrude into your life?


August 17th, 2009
10:59 am

obama will be covering illegal children and illegal is illegal. so who is going to pay for millions of illegal children and when they turn adult will they be terminated. this is just another lure and incentive for 50 more illegal aliens to come to the usa to get free health. do you know how many people will come on disney vacations to bring their sick children from all over south america and mexico. they already bring their children here that are sick, they know obama health will take care of them for the rest of their lives. women from mexico already come here wilth their sick children and the children are on ssi because they are not able to take care of themselves and these people are from a foreign country. there are alot of foreigner coming here with diseases and at the end of their 6 years here are put on welfare and they are not suppose to be. look at parkland hospital in dallas,texas every illegal is coming to get free prenatal and free anchor babies. this is not fair because we are paying for it. give something free and they will come!


August 17th, 2009
11:07 am

I think the public option plan is the only way we can truly regulate the insurance companies. If they were so regulated, why have they been allowed to ration health care(managed care) for so many years! The Obama administration, as well as the Democrats have allowed the opposition to define the debate with outright untruths and nonsense !I have two different health plans between my wife and myself. When one plan pays the other does not and it is called coordinate benefits, I call it stealing while acting as a insurance company ! By the way, neither plans have coordinated premium payments and they both accept payments monthly!

Kathleen Vanni

August 17th, 2009
11:09 am

I have read some complaints about the proposed tax of 2.5% that people without health insurance would have to pay, but I think this is a good idea. Right now when these people get a major health problem the rest of us pay for it. They either used some form of Medicaid paid for out of all of our tax money or they run up hospital bills which they can never pay, which means the hospitals have to charge more for people with health insurance. This means that health insurance companies charge more to make up for these higher prices, so we that are insured are paying for those people thru higher premiums. Why shouldn’t these people pay their fair share? With the new laws not making health insurance impossible to get for people with pre-existing conditions, why shouldn’t everyone carry health insurance. I believe that there will be subsidies for lower income folks to help them with their premiums, but at least they can pay something towards their own health care unless they are truly indigent. In addition having health insurance would make it less costly for people to get regular health care instead of neglecting their health and then having to go to emergency room when things get really out of hand. Health care reform is very necessay, I think, but it is also necessary that they tackle big pharma if costs are really going to be brought into line both for the government and for the consumer.


August 17th, 2009
11:21 am

As an American living in Canada, and a Republican, I can attest to the benefits of both a private and public system. As of 2005, Canada has both. It can and does work. The US system spends more money on health care than any other industrialized nation, and yet is bested by every other G8 country in all major measurements of health care – including Life Expectancy and Infant mortality. Unbelievable! The same arguments were made about Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid – these were viewed as pure Socialism at the time. Between 700,000 – 1 million Americans go bankcrupt every year, because they can’t pay their bills. I am a strong supporter of capitalism and absolutely freaked when I saw the Tax Rates here. However, slowly I have come to realize the benefits. I have more disposable income in Canada (than I did when I lived in the US) – higher taxes yes, but I no longer spend 1200/month to insure my family. Taken into consideration, I easily have more money now than I did before. This is a market driven economy in Canada, – they just don’t believe it should extend to someone’s ability to pay their medical bills. I guess the bottom line is – there is no border issue with Canada/US, unlike Mexico, Canadians aren’t trying to sneak into the US – perhaps because it isn’t as bad as the conservatives want everyone to believe. There are more American’s emigrating to Canada, than Canadians going to live in the US.

We need health care reform enacted immediately. Spending less on health insurance means more money spent elsewhere. If the Administration can lower costs, improve coverage, and improve our rankings in the world, I am all for it. The US is still the greatest country in the world, but there are plenty of countries who kick our butt on health care – and Canada is one of them.


August 17th, 2009
11:59 am

Look at the atrocious amounts of money the health insurance executives are putting in their pocket every day by scamming policy holders. We need a single-payer system to put these guys completely out of business.


August 17th, 2009
12:04 pm

No. If you would like to help pressure Congress to pass single payer health care in a democratic and constructive way please join our voting bloc at:

P. Marie Bates

August 17th, 2009
12:12 pm

One thing for sure is that this bill has awaken the sleeping giant. People who were content to drift along are getting involved – for and against.

Ever wonder why there is a cap amount on salary dollars that Social Security is paid on. So the guy who makes $30,000 a year is taxed on 100% of his pay. The guy making $300,000 only pays on about 30% of his pay. And they wonder why S.S. is going broke.

As to Medicare — so much fraud and no control. Pay to doctors and medical providers is slow, a paper mess and often requires multiple submissions.

Clean these messes up FIRST!

Rhea Harper

August 17th, 2009
12:17 pm

WARNING … read between the lines in the script that is put before Obama in his speaches.

Southern Beale

August 17th, 2009
12:56 pm

If as GB says a public option won’t contain insurance companies which are “already heavily regulated by state governments,” then that is the best argument I’ve heard yet for scrapping the entire insurance-based system completely and going with single-payer. 30-cents out of every healthcare dollar spent goes to insurance companies. As long as profit is their motive, then healthcare will be rationed by insurance company bureaucrats, 50 million people will be left without any healthcare at all, and we all will continue to pay for a broken system while insurance company fat cats continue to profit.


August 17th, 2009
1:12 pm

First of all, the government should NOT in any way shape or form be involved, even remotely, in healthcare. There has never been a government program that has been successful. Perhaps the initial intent is good but NO program ever has been successful and NO program ever has ever remained within the projected dollar cost of the program. The programs are always 10’s of millions of dollars more. AND no government program, once instated, is EVER gotten rid of.

So I’m done, completely finished. I don’t want government in any more parts of our lives. Stick within the Constitution of protecting and defending us and leave us alone to pursue life, liberty and happiness.

With the socalled coop option, there is still an initial government funded seed to the program. And guess who is footing that bill…those of us who are working and/or have worked all of our lives. I say let insurance companies compete…competition has always driven costs down and has spurred on innovation to create better products more efficiently. So, too, would the health care industry as well as the health care research industry.

Also, health insurance was originally NOT intended for every little sniffle at the doctors office. It was meant to be there precisely FOR catastrophic illness or accident, NOT for every day issues. Look at auto insurance…you are NOT insured for oil changes and tire changes…you are insured for accidents etc. If this were the case regarding our physical health, everyone would realize what the real cost of insurance was, because they’d be paying for every doctor’s visit and every ER visit. And if we did that, then to carry insurance for the catastrophic instances and long term maladies, would be affordable. And we’d have MORE money in our pockets to pay for the every year doctor’s visits!

I say NO, to government programs. Stick to protecting our borders, keep us safe from terrorism. Healthcare is the last issue we need to be involved with now with what is going on in the world around us.


August 17th, 2009
2:33 pm

Here are two questions to consider for health insurance consumers.
When your doctor recommends a treatment for you:
Which is worse, having a government bureacrat decide whether you may have the treatment or having an insurance company bureaucrat decide whether you may have the treatment?
Which of the two bureaucrats has an incentive to refuse your treatment?


August 17th, 2009
5:46 pm

Health care cost began to rapidly expand when we allowed health insurance and hospitals to become ‘for profit” with stock holders who expected to earn money off the health of other people. Of course the more things that are denined, the more the stockholders earn. If we don’t have a gov’t plan, we must do more to regulate health insurance. Yes, I would trust the gov’t with my health care needs any day over a large corporation designed to make a profit. The gov’t regulates the plans available to federal employees and we have excellent care. We have no power as individuals over the large corporations, but we do as a public have tremendous over our elected officials.


August 17th, 2009
9:43 pm

I have been fortunate enough to have quality health care all of my life. Today, my family has the best health care that money can buy, but I care about those in this country who are not as fortunate. I believe that everyone should have access to quality health care.

In our current system, the taxpayers and the insured (people like myself) are paying the cost for those who are less fortunate at an astronomical cost. The high costs for health care are partly due to the overuse of emergency rooms/hospitals by the unisured. It would seem to me that a program that provides more access to health care for the poor and uninsured would both provide people with what should be a basic right, as well as reduce the costs associated with overuse, which the current taxpayer and insured are paying.


August 18th, 2009
3:46 pm

We need tax policies that preserve America’s global competitiveness, and we need to oppose policies that reduce businesses’ ability to grow. Make the tax system simple and fair. A successful economy encourages investment and rewards achievement. It would be the height of economic folly to target any group for a major tax increase.

Jeremy Engdahl-Johnson

August 21st, 2009
7:37 pm

Rules Matter!

So much depends on the rules established to govern a co-op and how they compare to the rules governing other members of the healthcare system. More at


August 24th, 2009
12:24 pm

Government should stay out of Health care insurance. The function of government would be limited to the writing of one Basic Health Care Policy and the private insurance companies would be required to bid on the One Plan.(Level Playing Field). One plan one form. Why do they make it so complicated. With the insurance companies bidding one the same plan the confusion stops and all the goals that Obama wishes would be met. The cost for employers would be implemented over a five year period allowing everyone to gear up. This could be 10% employer and 90 % employee for the first year 20%/80% the second and in five years 50/50. Some businesses are 90 % material and 10 % labor and others are 90 % labor and 10 % material. Our country is the last remaining country to not cap the profits of Health Insurance Companies. Switzerland capped the profits several years ago to keep the insurance companies in line.

Government should monitor Health Care, Utilities, Financial Institutions, National Transportation and Communications and stay out of our lives. A similar approach could apply to all of the above categories.


September 2nd, 2009
1:51 am

Mr. President why are the banking,and loan company not making loans as you promised they would do for the american people we are all hurting and not getting any help. Time for them to answer to you for not helping us the little people that keep them in business, maybe we should boycott their business. Check