Health Care cooperatives are among ideas popular with Congressional Republicans as a way of health care reform. Republicans have suggested an initial government investment into developing non-profit co-ops which participating members could be insured with.
Despite examples in Seattle and Madison, a former big insurance public relations executive doesn’t think health care co-ops are feasible to start up in today’s marketplace. Wendell Potter, with the Madison-based Center for Media and Democracy, says both cities are examples of long time existing co-ops. He says now is a time of consolidated, conglomerate insurance companies with a third of Americans enrolled with one of seven major insurers.
Potter worked at both Humana and CIGNA for more than 20 years and also believes insurance companies use third party agencies to inject misleading information about some proposals in Washington. The former PR man says these “front groups” effectively use the media to spread “buzz phrases” to create opposition to health care reform.
Republicans have argued the emotional reactions at public gatherings are the result of lawmakers trying to rush through bills that would empower government too much.
Potter now advocates for “responsible health care reform.” He calls it a shame that the lawmakers have not seriously considered a single payer option which he says has shown to be successful in other countries.