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Dead on arrival
Sept 23, 2009; | Since the Baucus plan for health care reform apparently tosses the so-called public option to the curb, the nation’s attention is on what nonprofit cooperatives might be able to deliver as a reasonable substitute for the public sector as originally envisioned in the Obama conception of comprehensive reform. Washington state possesses the nonprofit cooperative that some in Congress tout as the model, the Group Health Cooperative of Seattle. As much as Group Health may do a good job, it doesn’t have the scale and resources to provide effective competition and coverage against the existing nonprofit and for-profit health insurance plans that we’ve all suffered through for so many years. Many in Washington state choose a state-run plan available to state government employees working at state universities, etc., over both Group Health and the standard coverage competition. Despite Group Health’s existence, 18 percent of the adult population of Washington is uninsured. Academic critics of the Baucus nonprofit coop plan call this a “warm and fuzzy” alternative, but significantly beneath the capital and market capacity to offer serious public-like competition to the private insurers. The article gives a good quote from Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union: “They’re very good institutions. But to imagine scaling them up to compete against (other insurers)) is like scaling up town-hall meetings in Vermont to compete with New York City.”—Rick Cohen

2009 Young Leaders: The Next Generation, Affordable Housing Finance showcases 12 rising stars under 40
Sept, 2009; Affordable Housing Finance | It’s good to see five young nonprofit leaders honored by Affordable Housing Finance as affordable housing leaders, including people working at Mercy Housing and Community Housing Improvement Systems and Planning Association. The Nonprofit Quarterly congratulates them all, especially those who cited To Kill a Mockingbird and Cannery Row as their favorite books (on this writer’s list as well).—Rick Cohen

United Way of Niagara Falls and Fort Erie aiming for $1.2M
Sept 12, 2009; The Tribune | Goal adjustment within United Way campaigns continue in response to the economy. Last year, the United Way of Niagara Falls aimed at $1.2 million and Fort Erie $235,000. Both fell short. This year, their combined campaign target is roughly the same as what Niagara Falls hoped to raise alone last year.—Rick Cohen


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