None of the current health insurance proposals address co-op’s, but there are three good reasons to give it a hard look.
First, a member owned, not-for-profit organization will have it’s member’s interests at heart. Without the profit motive, fewer claims will be denied and fewer premium dollars will be spent on staff who’s job it is to deny claims.
Second, it has a better chance of passing. Neither the House’s three-committee bill or the Senate’s Kennedy-Dodd bill meet the President’s threshold for bending the cost curve. The Wyden-Benett bill does, but does not provide a private plan, instead opting for “exchanges” and state-based pools. There are too many that for ideological reasons oppose a government run public plan, but are happy with the co-op idea.
Third, for co-op’s to be able to compete, they will have to be large. At a minimum they would be regional, and a national one is not out of the question. At that scale, they are basically the same as a public plan.
If this is what it’s going to take to get health insurance reform passed, it’s an option worth looking at.