Group Health of Seattle's experience undermines co-op argument

While some federal legislators are pointing to healthcare co-ops as a means of expanding healthcare coverage to more Americans, the experience of Seattle's Group Health Cooperative suggests that this may be a flawed assumption, according to a piece in Seattle Weekly.

The article points to the experience of Eugene and Yukiko Gatlin, who don't receive health benefits at work. The couple filed for bankruptcy production after racking up $50,000 in credit card debt, incurred through paying premiums to Group Health.

According to the newspaper, the Gatlins' story points out that cooperatives will do little to address the problem of high healthcare costs, suggesting that they're far from the big-picture answer champions that Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) has portrayed. Conrad, for his part, argues that his reform proposal doesn't rely on co-ops, though it does claim that the model would provide more value by returning surplus premiums to members--allegedly lowering premiums.

To learn more about this analysis:
- read this Seattle Weekly piece