Tag Archives: health care cooperatives

Colo. SB 11-168 admits that authoritarian “co-op” will kill jobs

Colorado SB 11-168 (text), which would create a tax-funded authoritarian health care cooperate that unfairly competes with insurance companies, admits that it will put people out of jobs. Section 10-16-1107 (yeah, really) reads:

The [Board of Directors] shall design the Cooperative for Colorado in collaboration with parties that may be affected by the design and implementation of the Cooperative. In designing the Cooperative, the board … shall at least make recommendations concerning the following elements: …

Develop a transition plan for retraining and job placement that considers extended unemployment benefits for those whose jobs have been impacted by the implementation of the system.

Which jobs? People who work for insurance companies?  Insurance brokers, perhaps?

See my previous post: Government health co-op: public plan in disguise?

Also check out: Colorado SB 11-168: The health care Authority will enforce your “cooperation”

Thanks to the Colorado Chamber of Commerce and Industry for bring this to our attention.

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Colorado SB 11-168: The health care Authority will enforce your “cooperation”

The Colorado health care authoritarians like Sen. Irene Aguilar have dusted off 2009’s HB 1273 and have introduced it as Senate Bill 168.   But don’t call it “single payer.”  Or a “public option.” It’s a “cooperative,” that you must pay for. It’s “A bill for an act concerning the creation of the Colorado health care authority for the purpose of designing a health care cooperative.”

Unlike the 2009 version, this year’s bill does not refer to itself as the “Colorado Guaranteed Health Care Act.” This is wise, as politicians cannot “guarantee” health care.  Their meddling in people’s choices about health care and insurance have only created the mess they claim to be able to fix.

But they choice of the words “authority” and “cooperative” is amusing.  In other words, cooperate or else!  Or else the authorities will punish you.

A Denver Daily News article says that

Coloradans would be allowed to keep their primary insurance provider and instead use the cooperative as a supplemental policy, but proponents [opponents?] say most Coloradans would choose to end their other insurance because the cooperative would cover all needs.

This sounds like “if you like you’re plan, you can keep it.”  And further, the bill states:

The mission of the authority is to design the Colorado health care cooperative (cooperative) to be the benefits administrator and payer for health care services.

Call me paranoid, but is the above saying that the cooperative to be “the benefits administrator and payer for health care services”? Not “a benefits administrator and payer,” but the, as in, the one and only.

The Denver Daily News article also states:

The cooperative is being called “nongovernmental” because it would be governed by a member-elected board, though critics argue that the cooperative is governmental in nature.

But the bill states (emphasis added):

There is hereby created the Colorado health care authority, that shall be a body corporate and a political subdivision of the state, that shall not be an agency of state government, and that shall not be subject to administrative direction or control by any department, commission, board, bureau, or agency of the state.

The authority and its corporate existence shall continue until terminated by law …

This sounds rather governmental to me, especially since it’s funded in part by taxes. As the bill states:

The board shall seek input from and collaborate with the department of public health and environment, the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, and the General Assembly to seek all waivers, exemptions, and agreements from the federal government so that all current levels of funding from the federal government to the state, counties, or local governments for the provision and payment of health care services may be transferred to the authority …

To repeat my critique of the 2009 bill:

For anyone, like Sen. Irene Aguilar, who thinks the Colorado Health Care Authority is a great idea, then be entrepreneurial about it.  Set up a business plan, find investors, and then find customers who are willing to pay the Authority for its services.  Health care cooperatives already exist, after all. I mean, if it’s so good, why must you force people to fund it?

As I’ve written before:

Did you know that non-profit (and non-government) insurers dominate markets in many states? Further, non-profit health co-ops already exist. Health Partners, Inc. in Minneapolis and the Group Health Cooperative in Seattle each have more than a half-million members. Such co-ops would be more common if government got out of the way. Current law prohibits member-based mutual insurance organizations from operating as non-profits.

See also: Government health co-op: public plan in disguise?

And check out Jon Caldara’s take:

[T]here is yet another abomination coming down the pike: “universal” health care coverage for Colorado. Or as I like to call it, “universal unicorns for Colorado.” Because let’s be completely honest here, that’s what “universal” health care is – a pie in the sky fantasy that cannot work in the real world.

Read the whole post: A Pipe Dream Referred.

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The AMA & biased legislation vs. health care mutual aid societies

Mary Ruwart nicely summarizes how the American Medical Association and legislation biased toward insurance companies crowded out health care mutual aid societies. Today their equivalents are health care cooperatives.  The following is from The Liberator Online, June 24, 2010:

QUESTION: I think part of the problem with today’s health care system is the over-reliance on insurance companies. They are (rightfully) in the business of making money, and as a result they keep raising premiums.

What about the idea of competing with them by fostering the creation of non-profit insurance and/or medical co-ops? In a co-op, any profits would stay in the co-op to offset the additional cost of helping those currently lacking basic care.

MY SHORT ANSWER:
You’ve pretty much described the “mutual aid societies” that once protected Americans against medical disasters — before government regulated them out of business for the benefit of the doctors and insurance companies.

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Government health co-op: public plan in disguise?

Have Democrat politicians backed away from pushing a government run insurance plan, a.ka., the “public plan” or “public option”?  They are now backing a tax-subsidized “co-op.”  There are some reasons to be suspicious.

If you like podcasts, listen to Co-ops and the health care debate with Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute. Or listen to it right here.  Cannon argues that a government co-op is just a “public plan” with an other name.  He offers two ways to “keep insurance companies honest” through free-market reforms: let us buy insurance available in other states & removing the tax bias toward employer-provided insurance.

Read more critiques of the government co-op proposal:

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Danger of government-backed health care co-ops

From the Wall Street Journal:

The details of the Senate Finance Committee’s hush-hush health talks aren’t fully known, but leaks suggest that one all-but-certain highlight will be new federally created health “cooperatives” to compete against private insurers. …

the Senate is talking about government-sponsored co-ops, and that means multiple devils are in the details. Mr. Conrad confirmed this week that the current plan is to have the feds provide $6 billion in start-up cash, then appoint an “interim” national board to set policies for a network of state or regional co-ops. Mr. Conrad said this new network could attract 12 million people, making it the third-largest health insurer in the country.

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Health care cooperatives already exist

When politicians talk about “cooperatives,” they mean you cooperate, or else.

Supporters of the “public insurance option,” that is, government-run insurance that competes with commercial insurers sense opposition: People realize it’s unfair competition. You know, like playing basketball against a team of players who also function as the referees.  In response, some Democratic politicians have proposed, as the New York Times reports:

that the public plan could take the form of an insurance cooperative that would be owned and operated for the benefit of its members, but not run by the government.

Michael Tanner at Cato points out:

In fact, health care co-ops already exist. Health Partners, Inc. in Minneapolis has 660,000 members and provides health care, health insurance, and HMO coverage. The Group Health Cooperative in Seattle provides health coverage for 10 percent of Washington State residents.

If the new co-ops operate under the same rules as other nonprofit insurers, why bother?

And there’s the rub. Supporters of government-run health care have no intention of letting the co-ops be independent enterprises. In fact, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) makes it clear, for example, that the co-op’s officers and directors would be appointed by the president and Congress. He insists that there be a single national co-op. And Congress would set the rules under which it operates.  As Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) says, “It’s got to be written in a way that accomplishes the objectives of a public option.”

If a “co-op” is run by the federal government under rules imposed by the federal government with funding provided by the federal government, that is government-run health insurance by another name.

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