Alinsky-tied group awarded $56 million federal loan for health insurance project

Judson Berger

A Saul Alinsky-tied group has been awarded a $56 million federal loan to start up a nonprofit health insurance company — one of several organizations across the country this week tapped to launch a new network of insurers under the sponsorship of the federal health care overhaul.

The Wisconsin group, Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative, was awarded the funding on Tuesday. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the group is expected to provide coverage statewide within five years after starting on a smaller scale in early 2014.

But Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson questioned the group’s credentials — given its affiliation and lack of experience in the insurance field.

“The indisputable fact is that Common Ground was an outgrowth of the Alinsky operation in Chicago,” Wilson said. “We’re not giving money to a group with experience in health care issues or in setting up exchanges. … We’re handing the money to people who have been trained by arguably the single most expert individual on community organizing in the last 100 years.”

Common Ground, a Milwaukee group that dates back to 2004, is an affiliate of the Alinsky-founded Industrial Areas Foundation

…The federal loans announced this week were worth a total of nearly $640 million. Six other organizations in seven states received them. The money is meant for the creation of so-called Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans, which will serve as nonprofit, cooperative-style insurance groups which will offer an alternative to other private plans. The goal is to eventually fund one of these groups in every state and the District of Columbia…

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