If health cooperatives were really more efficient and innovative, wouldn't they be copied all over the country? That's how the market works. When someone comes up with an innovative way of doing business, it is quickly imitated and improved on. But buried late in the Times story is the revealing fact that the co-op is "a rare survivor among the hundreds of rural health insurance cooperatives."
Hello? Don't the Times editors see the disconnect? If co-ops worked well, today there would be thousands of them. Why should taxpayers fund a method of delivering health care whose success is "rare"?
The newspaper story made another point that is a favorite of the policy elite: Preventive care will save tons of money. If that's true, there is nothing (but government) to keep people from implementing that principle. But is it true?
This seems to be one of those things we know that isn't so.
I take Lipitor. The drug may extend my life. But this doesn't lower my health-care costs. Years of pill-taking increases costs. If the pill works, I may live long enough to get an even more expensive disease. And maybe I, like millions of others, take Lipitor unnecessarily because we would never have had heart attacks. We then spend more, not less, on health care.
Health-care expert John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis (www.ncpa.org) says there are "literally hundreds of studies from over the past 40 years that show preventive medical services usually increase medical spending ... Contrary to popular belief, checkups for children and adults do not save the health care system money".
If the policy elite really wanted cost-cutting competition, they would deregulate medicine. No one has ever found a better way to stimulate competition than freedom.