Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Conrad On Whether His Co-Op Proposal Will Bring Down Costs Of Health Care: ‘Uhhh, No’

This morning on CNN, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), the author of the health care co-op proposal that is apparently gaining traction among many Democrats, argued it’s a “very successful business model.” But when host John Roberts repeatedly pressed Conrad on whether the creation of non-profit, member-driven health care cooperatives would drive down costs for consumers, Conrad acknowledged they would not:

ROBERTS: What would they do to reduce costs? Because that is one of the central issues of health care reform.

CONRAD: Well, the important thing is they’d provide more competition. … Beyond that, I think it’s very important not to over-promise here. [...]

ROBERTS: So nothing really in driving down the costs of service then?

CONRAD: Uhhh, no. If you believe competition helps drive down costs, then they would certainly contribute to holding down costs.

While Conrad emphasizes the “competition” that health care co-ops would provide to private insurers, health care experts argue they would be too weak to have a major impact. “It’s very difficult to start up a new insurance company and break into markets where insurers are very established,” said Paul Ginsburg, president of the Center for Studying Health System Change. “I don’t see how they’re going to obtain a large enough market share…to make a difference.” The New York Times adds that the history of health care co-ops has not fared well

Read the rest at Think Progress

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