Saturday, June 20, 2009

Not just telecom: Coops may play integral role in health care reform

Cooperatives are likely to play a key role in ending the current patchwork quilt of broadband black holes as the U.S. moves toward a complete advanced telecommunications infrastructure.

Turns out they may also help lower costs and increase access to coverage in the nation's private health care system under a draft Senate omnibus health care reform bill introduced this week. The draft bill forgoes creating a government health plan to compete with private market HMOs and insurers and substitutes in consumer cooperatives per this excerpt from a June 19 Washington Post article:

The absence of a "public option" marks perhaps the most significant omission. Obama and many Democrats had sought a public option to ensure affordable, universal coverage, but as many as 10 Senate Democrats have protested the idea as unfair to private insurers. In its place, the draft circulated yesterday outlines a co-op approach modeled after rural electricity and telecom providers, subject to government oversight and funded with federal seed money.

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