Heading North and South

Heading North

Our big conference room at the MNA office in Okemos is stacked with boxes, banners, folders – everything that we take on the road. Today, a team of MNA staff will leave to travel to Escanaba for “CE in the U.P.” We are a sponsor of the Upper Peninsula State Fair and will not only be providing CE on Thursday morning, but will exhibit during the Wellness Fair on Wednesday and Ladies Day on Thursday. This is a fun event – we were a sponsor last year and enjoyed being a part of the fair as well as bringing CE to nurses in the area. If you’re in Escanaba at the U.P. State Fair, stop by and say hi!

Heading South

It’s a little discouraging to be reading The Washington Post this morning and see this quote: “Democracy for America, a grass-roots group started b former Vermont governor and 2004 presidential candidate Howard Dean and now run by his brother Jim, sent an e-mail to its supporters declaring “a healthcare bill without a public option is D.O.A. in the House. Period.” MNA is a firm believer that a public option is necessary. How else will the insurance companies be kept competitive? And yet, it’s beginning to look as if the public option is going south and quickly.

What’s Plan B? Member-owned, nonprofit health cooperatives. The key difference? Cooperatives are not owned or run by the government. But there are some concerns:

  • Can cooperatives get competitive rates from doctors and hospitals? Remember that in the public health option plan, reimibursement rates are set by the government.
  • Can they build big enough client bases so that insurance companies will give them competitive rates?
  • Are they integrated systems or is their only role to negotiate reimbursements?

Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) is the chief advocate for cooperatives. He was quoted in today’s Washington Post: “The hard reality is, the reason I was asked to come up with (an alternative) is that the public does option does not have enough support in the Senate to pass. It’s an alternative that would accomplish much of what’s appealing (in the public option) and not have the fierce opposition of virtually every Republican and some Democrats.”

Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen!

Here’s what I read in The Washington Post today:

Public Option Called Essential

Cooperatives Being Pushed as an Alternative to a Government Plan

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