The National Alliance of State Health Cooperatives Hosts Inaugural Conference

NASHCO hosts experts from HHS, states across the country in Washington, D.C. Conference on day HHS releases CO-OP rules

WASHINGTON, July 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced its proposed rules for health CO-OPs on Monday as the National Alliance of State Health CO-OPs held its inaugural conference in Washington, D.C. Center for Consumer Information and Insurance (CCIO) Director Steve Larsen announced the publication of the rules at the NASHCO Conference and HHS officials answered questions from prospective CO-OP developers.  In addition to HHS officials, representatives from the business community, individual states, and Congressional staff participated in the Conference.  

"We at NASHCO are extremely grateful to all of the participants and speakers who made our inaugural conference a success," NASHCO chair John Morrison said.  "There is a great deal of interest across the country in CO-OPs, and our conference presented a great opportunity for stakeholders from every corner of America to come together and share information to help get member-owned and non-profit CO-OPs up and running and into the health care market place.  NASHCO looks forward to its role in supporting these nascent CO-OPs as they continue to form and spread across the United States."

"The fact that HHS published its rules for CO-OPs made the discussion that much more timely and relevant," Morrison added.

The Affordable Care Act has appropriated funds for start-up expenses and capitalization loans for CO-OPs. The idea was advanced by North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad as an alternative to the "public option" proposal that failed to gain majority support in the last Congress. CO-OPs represent a new, innovative, and non-governmental method for managing health care costs and state efforts to create these CO-OPs involved work by physicians, the business community, labor leaders, and consumers.

Representatives from 25 states and the District of Columbia, who incurred registration costs to attend, participated in NASHCO's conference.  Approximately 80 people were in attendance.  NASHCO was formed to assist in the implementation of CO-OPs that are forming around the country.

"We are very excited about the turnout and the geographic diversity here today," said Steve Larsen, Deputy Administrator and Director, Center for Consumer Information and Insurance at HHS.  "We hope to see consumer focused CO-OPs in every state providing maximum value for the premium dollar."

Speakers included:

John Morrison, President of NASHCO; former State Insurance Commissioner of Montana and chair of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Health Insurance and Managed Care Committee

Paul Hazen, President and CEO, National Cooperative Business Association

Dr. Tom Roberts, Chair, Montana Health CO-OP

Andrew Webber, President and CEO, National Business Coalition on Health

Althea Erickson, Advocacy and Policy Director, Freelancers Union

Anne-Marie La Porte, Director, Governance Services, Group Health Cooperative

Jan VanRiper, Vice President, NASHCO

Jim Kucher, President/CEO, The Evergreen Project

Heerad Sabeti, Convening Trustee, Fourth Sector Network

Adam Schwartz, VP for Public Affairs and Member Services, NCBA

Douglas Mancino, Hunton & Williams LLP

Tom Decker, John Dunn and Adam Schwartz, NCBA

Steve Larsen, Deputy Administrator and Director, CCII

Jayme Fuglesten, Legislative Assistant to Senator Kent Conrad

Jerry Burgess, President/CEO, HealthCare 21 Business Coalition

Terry Gardiner, Vice President, Policy and Strategy, Small Business Majority

Allen Feezor, Chief Policy Advisor to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

Barbara Smith, Associate Director, Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan Program, HHS

Russ Sullivan, Democratic Staff Director, US Senate Committee on Finance

John Dunn, Vice President of Cooperative Development, National Cooperative Business Association

For more information on NASHCO, please visit www.nashco.coop.

Contact: John Morrison, 406-442-3261

SOURCE National Alliance of State Health Cooperatives

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