Thursday, September 17, 2009

Problems with New Health Care Lite

Democratic Montana Senator Max Baucus, a genuinely good and thoughtful man, has offered a new healthcare alternative.

Unfortunately, it still sounds like and looks like a duck.

The issue: the resurrection of the "co-op" versus the public health care option. Senator Baucus wants to replace the government option with a community based co-op system. This system has been tried before.

It's DNA is this: regional groups of employers and community leaders would use Federal subsidies to setup a health care co-op. They would then negotiate costs and services with local health care providers. They also would build a membership base many of whom would be poorer families buying policies with new federal subsidies. These members would in turn own the co-op. Costs would be controlled by emphasizing preventive and primary care versus expensive emergency room services.

Sound good? Not so fast. Here are some historic problems with co-ops. Problem one- since co-ops will not be mandatory, it will take years for these entities to gain enough membership to have any cost-cutting power in the marketplace. Problem two- they will attract patients who have expensive medical needs and are unable to secure coverage elsewhere. Finally, it will likely cost more money and procure less medical services that traditional plans.

These historic problems remain.

Sounds like another bad idea for your family.

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