Karen Davis on Health Cooperatives Launches The Commonwealth Fund Blog

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<p>As part of the health reform debate currently under way in the U.S. Congress, Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) has proposed the creation of "health cooperatives," as a potential alternative to a public health insurance plan and as a pathway to providing affordable health insurance to more Americans. While the details are still being fleshed out, an examination of the history of such co-ops in health care has important lessons applicable to the current policy discussion. </p>
<p>In this inaugural post to <a href="/blog/2009/cooperative-health-care-way-forward">The Commonwealth Fund Blog</a>, Commonwealth Fund president Karen Davis says that existing health cooperatives suggest that:</p>
<li>Local cooperative health organizations can and do provide top-quality integrated and coordinated care, but they have faced formidable obstacles in formation, operation, and growth. </li>
<li>A national organization with authority to purchase health care at reasonable rates is integral to success in controlling costs. </li>
<li>Transforming health care delivery to a mission-driven, patient-centered, value-enhancing system of health care will require incentives for physicians to practice in health care organizations accountable to patients and consumers, and disincentives to continue participating in the current, fragmented fee-for-service system.</li>
<p>The post also highlights five new case studies by Commonwealth Fund senior researcher advisor Douglas McCarthy on the following high-performance organizations: <a href="/publications/case-study/2009/jun/geisinger-health-system-achieving-potential-system-integration">Geisinger Health System</a> in Pennsylvania, <a href="/publications/case-study/2009/jun/community-care-north-carolina-building-community-systems-care">Community Care of North Carolina</a>, <a href="/publications/case-study/2009/jun/kaiser-permanente-bridging-quality-divide-integrated-practice">Kaiser Permanente</a> in California, and <a href="/publications/case-study/2009/jun/healthpartners-consumer-focused-mission-and-collaborative-approach">HealthPartners</a> in Minnesota, and Group Health in Washington State, the latter two of which are health care cooperatives.</p>
<p>Visit The Commonwealth Fund Blog at <a title="http://commonwealthfund.org/Publications/Blog.aspx&quot; href="/Publications/Blog.aspx">http://commonwealthfund.org/Publications/Blog.aspx</a&gt; regularly, where we will feature posts from Commonwealth Fund staff and fellows, offering timely analysis and insight into health policy issues. We welcome your comments.</p>