Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Not the Health Care Co-ops They Had in Mind

Here is one possibility we could see and, given the abandonment of single-payer and what looks like a systematic effort to sabotage the public option, a co-op that a growing number of Americans would gladly join:

Democratic Party Lays Plans for Insurance Cooperative

Democratic Party insiders have quietly begun laying plans for a national nonprofit insurance cooperative owned and operated for the benefit of its members.

Inspired by an idea suggested by Senate Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., the proposed plan, code-named Trenton, would be open to all registered Democrats and their families.

Leaders from both major parties have declared a single-payer health care plan dead on arrival in the U.S. Senate.

This month, Rasmussen’s partisan identification survey estimated the number of Democrats at 39.4% (leading Republicans by 6.8 percentage points). Dr. Michael McDonald of George Washington University recently estimated the 2008 voting-eligible population in the U.S. at roughly 213 million.

By those estimates, nearly 83 million Democrats and their families would be immediately eligible, with another 60 million independents up for grabs. When launched, Trenton could attract the largest single pool of insurance customers in the United States.

“We’re looking at a pool with far more bargaining power for driving down costs than the VA," said an unidentified official.

The proposed Democratic insurance co-op would not deny coverage to patients with preexisting medical conditions.

It's not a headline many on Capitol Hill, in Big Pharma or Big Insurance would welcome, and certainly not the co-op Kent Conrad envisions. But it's one alternative frustrated Democrats have kicked around for years.

Read more at Campaign for America's Future ...

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