Changing times required changes within CCAHS. As the national political scene swung to the right, consumerism in health along with many movements against the war, seeking equality of people of color and demanding control of their bodies by women waned. The response of CCHAS was to create a new vehicle designed to address issues facing self-insured payers.
That response was The Fund Reporter which started publication in March-April 1983 and continued through January 1985. It was edited by Donald Rubin and Associate Editor Roxanne Young and restarted in January 1990 through September 1991 with Charlie Klare as the new Editor and Rubin and Young as Associate Editors). Overall the Fund Reporter’s has a run for nearly twenty years and 15 issues.
One topic that weaves its way through the Fund Reporter was the ongoing struggle of self-insured funds to gain and retain the right to negotiate discount hospital rates. The struggle, one often found in American history based on the dysfunction of the Constitution which pitted the rights of the national or federal government and the rights of the local government or state to legislate and regulate sectors of the economy, society and the political process against each other.
In this case, the argument was centered on the federal laws governing non-public and non-railroad employee unions and the efforts of states, in particular New York and New Jersey, which conflicted with federal law. The unions argued that they were exempt from local state laws which prohibited them from negotiating hospital discount rates and that federal law preempted state law. The states argued that they had the legal right to determine matters of public health and financing of hospitals within their jurisdiction and that their efforts to control financing of hospitals was for the public good and not preempted. It was a classic state’s rights argument played out in lower and appeal state and federal courts. The outcome eventually favored the federal government and the rights of self-insured non-government health and welfare plans.
This little known struggle eventually led to major changes in the medical and hospital insurance industry and brought significant changes in the landscape of the organizing, financing and insuring of medical and hospital coverage nationwide. The impact of the affirmation of federal law is still being felt today.
To reduce expenses and continue to produce a better product, opportunities were offered for people not associated with CCAHS to contribute articles on subjects important to health and welfare fund administrators. This offering to others to share their views and information was developed to increase readership and at the same time to increase financial support including acceptance of advertisements from vendors. As expected, most of the outside contributors were direct consultants or vendors to New York City and New Jersey area self-insured health and welfare funds and a few union funds in neighboring states.
The shift in policy to accept advertisements had been delayed for several years to allay Board members’ concerns that acceptance of advertisements would destroy CCAHS’s credibility or otherwise destroy CCHAS’s complete unbiased editorial control over research and content. It was a concern that ultimately proved to have no basis in experience.
Advertisers it turned out were happy to pay a modest advertising rate with no strings attached to put their names on a publication that was distributed to almost every union and self-insured labor–management fund within a hundred miles of Times Square. This site includes a list of advertisers by issue and a list of contributors.