2009-06-10 Conrad Proposes Co-ops To Replace Public Plan

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In a closed-door meeting yesterday with members of the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) proposed replacing a public health care plan with a non-profit cooperative "that would have the same plans and would be subject to the same standards [as private plans]." "That would provide an alternative to for-profit insurance companies, so that there's a different delivery model for competition," Conrad explained.


According to an outline of Conrad's proposal, obtained by the Wonk Room, the "consumer health cooperatives (co-ops)" would operate "at the state level or regionally" to "provide a non-profit, non-government, consumer-driven coverage option in every state to deliver maximum value for consumers." "The democratic nature of co-ops could encourage increased quality and appropriate utilization and could help foster care integration and other delivery system reforms," the outline states:

  • Co-ops would be required to be non-profit
  • Co-ops would provide a coverage option for individuals and micro-businesses (< 10 employees)
  • All exchange rules and state laws that apply to other plans also would apply to co-ops
  • Strong governance standards would be required to ensure a strong consumer focus and democratic structure.