CNN casts doubt on how co-ops would work

From –

—Are health care co-ops a better alternative to public option?

CNN Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, who spoke with top officials at both co-ops, said this type of model would not solve the problem of uninsured Americans.

“Will co-ops solve that? No. That is according to two folks who run co-ops [one in Seattle and one in Minneapolis]. … They said ‘we are not charities. You have to spend money and pay premiums to join our co-ops. And we don’t take everyone. We sometimes say no to people with pre-existing conditions,’ ” she said.

Co-ops also may not have the industry clout of the big insurance companies.

“They [co-ops] would have some cost advantages over private plans — they wouldn’t have to make a profit — but they are going to be running on a very small scale, at least initially, and therefore they are going to have very high administrative costs proportionate to claims,” Jost said.

“But again, the big problem is how are they going to get providers to give them a better deal than the providers give the private insurers. They may not even be able to legally do that under their contracts with the commercial insurers,” he added. —

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