What is a Health Care Co-op?
By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY - There is a growing support for health care cooperatives, but what is a health care co-op and how does it work?
A cooperative is owned by its members who would include doctors, hospitals, businesses and regular citizens. That group would set rates for premiums and decide which providers they'll use for health care.
Could the solution to health care reform be a health care co-op? That all depend on what form it would take.
"It could be a partnership between the government and private insurance companies. Right now, it's just private insurance companies. Or it could be the government by themselves as a competitor to Blue Cross/Blue Shield," said Vince Orza, the Dean of OCU's Meinders School of Business.
That option surfaced last weekend after the White House indicated it would consider cooperatives in its bid to cover 48 million uninsured Americans. But the details of the health care reform bill have not been expressed, most of it lost in a sea of outrage and vitriol playing out in town hall meetings.
"They really don't know yet themselves quite what they want. What we seem to know is what everybody doesn't want," Orza said.
The Republican congressional minority has already spoken against a government-sponsored health care program. Oklahoma Congresswoman Mary Fallin denounced it last week at her town hall meetings and Monday Senator Jim Inhofe followed suit.
"It's socialized medicine. That's what's wrong with it. I think we're going to find in the next few days the American people are not on his side," said Sen. Jim Inhofe.
Some believe that is exactly what's happening with health care co-ops, now part of the national debate.
"You don't want to stay in the boat with something that's going to sink. So if in fact some health insurance is better than none, I think he's now showing some political savvy," Orza said.
The government would fund start-up costs for health care co-ops, which Senator Inhofe is also against. He's said it's just another version of government-sponsored health care.
Senator Inhofe plans on hosting some town hall meetings on health care in the coming weeks.
More on News9.com:
- Crowds Pack Oklahoma Legislators' Town Hall Meeting
- Oklahomans Voice Opinions on Health Care at Moore Town Hall Meeting
- Oklahomans Debate Health Care Reform
- Oklahomans Speak Out About Health Care Reform
- A Look at Health Care Plans in Congress
- Attend Your Lawmaker's Town Hall Meeting