Proponents of health care co-ops are enthusiastic about their individual models and tout them as being cost efficient and worthy of taking them to a national level. They feel that cooperatives would compete with larger insurance companies to lower costs. Certainly there are current models of health care co-ops that are working well. Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin, which has been going more than 25 years, is one example of efficient performance and is well received.
Yet, health insurance plans have been fraught with failure to sustain new models for cost containing systems historically. Iowa tried to form a co-op for health care that dissolved after only 2 years.
Centrists and some Republicans have looked at the idea of health care co-ops eagerly but they admit that it would take time and money to get everything in place between negotiating contracts with hospitals, providers and enrollees as well as establishing technology systems.
Orrin Hatch, Senator from Utah, states, “You can call it a co-op, which is another way of saying a government plan”.
The interesting question that acts like the 500-pound gorilla in the room is this-Why isn’t the liability cost tied into health care being addressed? If liability premiums did not have to be considered, health care costs could go down dramatically overnight, no matter what plan was initiated.