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Argument: Health care co-ops have a history of insolvency and failure

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Supporting quotations

Kate Pickert. "Can health co-ops do the job of a public plan?". Time. June 22, 2009: "apart from Group Health and Health Partners, the history of nonprofit HMOs is littered with failures. In the 1990s, a similarly set-up nonprofit HMO in the Washington, D.C., area called Group Health Association was forced to sell itself to Humana, a private insurance company, after its finances deteriorated to the point of insolvency. GHA, which had about 130,000 members, was plagued by falling membership rolls, strikes by staff doctors and nurses and competition from other HMOs. Before being acquired by Humana, GHA even tried to transform itself into a for-profit HMO to stop the bleeding. A partnership between two nonprofit HMOs in New York, Group Health Inc. and Health Insurance Plan of New York, is currently seeking state approval to do the same thing — turn itself into a for-profit company to raise capital."

"Health insurance debate turns to issue of co-ops". USA Today. August 21, 2009: "'We've tried this before, and it didn't work,' said Timothy Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., who said hundreds of health care co-ops born out of the Great Depression folded when the federal government pulled its funding. 'I just don't see it as a viable strategy.'"

Pete Stark. "Health Care Co-ops a 'Medical Unicorn'". Associated Content. September 3, 2009: "There aren't many of you listening who remember the co-ops in the '30s, which was kind of a Roosevelt outfit, rural electric co-ops, phone co-ops. But, as I say, there is no real example of either the regulation, or how you would establish them, or where they would get enough people to have a purchasing base. So you might as well talk about unicorns. You know, what is a medical unicorn? My kids all know what a unicorn is. But you don't. You have never seen one. So I think this co-op is just a way of ducking the issue of having the public plan."

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