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Podcast: Looking At Health Care Co-ops

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Podcast: Looking At Health Care Co-ops

Podcast

Podcast: Looking At Health Care Co-ops

Spotted in Sweden: The latest metaphor for cheaper health care in America. steffe/Flickr Creative Commons hide caption

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steffe/Flickr Creative Commons

Podcast: Looking At Health Care Co-ops

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/113283796/127424979" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

On today's Planet Money:

Health care cooperatives are insurance companies owned by ordinary patients who buy in. The Senate Finance Committee is working on a $6 billion measure, pushed by Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), that would set up health care cooperatives across the nation. The idea is to have cooperatives take the place of the public option, in which the government would set up an insurance plan to compete with ones from private companies.

A health co-op that saves you money may be something of a unicorn, says reporter Keith Seinfeld of Seattle's KPLU. Seinfeld belongs to a health care cooperative already, one of only two large co-ops in the country. He says he doesn't see his own Group Health Cooperative as being better than other providers at controlling costs. What's more, the input from its 600,000 members may not amount to much when only 3,000 of them choose to vote.

With an expert opinion from Tim Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee, who says health co-ops are expensive to start and run. Their main benefit: They make people happy.

Bonus: After the jump, photo evidence of economic expansion.

Download the podcast; or subscribe. Intro music: The Unicorns' "I Was Born A Unicorn." Find us: Twitter/ Facebook/ Flickr.

Twitter pal Kamaria Porter sends this picture from Chicago's Southside: