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The economy, explained, with stories and surprises. Imagine you could call up a friend and say, "Meet me at the bar and tell me what's going on with the economy." Now imagine that's actually a fun evening. That's what we're going for at <em>Planet Money</em>. People seem to like it.


#98 Planet Money: Senate Considers Health Care Coops

September 29th, 2009

Episode 191 of 974 episodes

Health care cooperatives are insurance companies owned by ordinary patients who buy in. The Senate Finance Committee is working on a $6 billion measure, pushed by Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), that would set up health care cooperatives across the nation. The idea is to have cooperatives take the place of the public option, in which the government would set up an insurance plan to compete with ones from private companies. A health coop that saves you money may be something of a unicorn, says reporter Keith Seinfeld of Seattle's KPLU. Seinfeld belongs to a health care cooperative already, one of only two in the country. He says he doesn't see his own Group Health Cooperative as being better than other providers at controlling costs. What's more, the input from its 600,000 members may not amount to much when only 3,000 of them choose to vote. With an expert opinion from Tim Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee, who says health coops are expensive to start and run. Their main benefit: They make people happier.

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