Fiscal cliff deal threatens Indiana co-op health plan

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Last week’s fiscal cliff bargain in Congress dealt a potentially fatal blow to a new health insurance plan that was set to launch this year.

The deal in Congress killed funding for new co-op health insurance plans created by the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The co-ops, called Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans in the act, were supposed to provide not-for-profit alternatives to existing health insurers across the country.

In Indiana, an organization called Remedy Indiana had asked the federal government for $62 million in loans to launch its health insurance plan. The organization, led by Indianapolis physician Ned Lamkin, has letters of support from all of the state’s major hospital systems—such as Indiana University Health in Indianapolis and Deaconess Health System in Evansville—to participate.

Some employers and benefits brokers also were involved in Remedy Indiana’s plans.

Lamkin said he expected a funding decision from the Obama administration in the first quarter, which would have allowed Remedy Indiana to start offering its plan to employers by the end of 2013. Remedy Indiana already had managers lined up to run the organization.

“It was a shocker for everyone,” said Lamkin, CEO of Remedy Indiana. “It is very discouraging to get so far along and then have the rug pulled out from underneath us.”

Remedy Indiana’s goal is to shift the task of managing patients’ health away from health insurers and back to hospitals and physicians—saving significant money by eliminating waste.

In the short-term, Remedy Indiana planned to save money by getting rid of the need for large profits, fat executive salaries and insurance programs that, in Lamkin’s words, are more focused on making profits than on benefiting patients.

In the long-term, Remedy Indiana planned to convene physicians from all its participating health systems, by specialty, to analyze cost, quality and research data to find better ways of treating patients for less money.

“In collaboration with the health systems, we thought it was too good a chance to make a difference,” Lamkin said.

Lamkin, who also is president of the Indiana Employers Quality Health Alliance, isn’t giving up. He noted that the National Alliance of State Health Co-ops is working on Capitol Hill to get Congress to reconsider the halt of co-op funding—which received no debate before its inclusion in the fiscal cliff deal that passed the Senate 89-8 on Jan. 1.

Lamkin said he's also considering other funding options. For example, he will ask Indiana’s hospital systems to consider funding Remedy Indiana on their own. Many hospitals, such as IU Health, St. Vincent Health, Community Health Network and the Suburban Health Organization, already are considering offering or expanding provider-led health plans.

“They basically could assume responsibility for what they do. Right now, they have health plans battering them over the head,” Lamkin said.



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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.