Early details pitch public plan as co-op

June 12, 2009

A proposal by Senator Kent Conrad (D-N.D), to establish member-run healthcare ?co-operatives? is gaining attention.

A proposal by Senator Kent Conrad (D-N.D), to establish member-run healthcare “co-operatives” is gaining attention.

Under Conrad's proposal, co-operatives on state and possibly a national level could gain a federal charter, collect premiums and provide healthcare benefits for its members. Conrad drew a distinction between his proposal and the government-run public health insurance option, reports Dow Jones Newswires.

As CEO of a small business and technology company, Durham, N.C.-based Bloodhound Technologies, Gary Twigg, believes this is a viable option.

“There currently exists a lot of cost shifting between large and small businesses,” Twigg says. “The plan should also help spur efficiencies through competition with existing plans, and has the potential to leverage technology by linking public co-op plans with regional health information networks.”

It is hoped that a bipartisan public plan bill will pass Congress with wide support. Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee Sen. Max Baucus of Montana says President Barack Obama showed interest. Meanwhile, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa thought the concept had potential.