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TUCSON, Ariz. – Democratic mayoral candidate Tom Volgy here is revealing more about his plans to launch a “health-care credit union” that would pool employees from the public, private and nonprofit sectors into a health care purchasing group with the aim of lowering health insurance costs. Credit Union Times first asked Volgy about his plans in September but he offered few details, saying he would share more if he is elected mayor of Tucson. At press time, with 100% of precincts reporting, Republican opponent Bob Walkup had a slight lead with 49.55% of the vote to Volgy’s 47.6%. A Tucson elections office spokesman said because an additional 4,000 ballots needed to be counted, final results would not be available until Nov. 6 or 7. Volgy, a political science professor at the University of Arizona, plans to appoint a task force in January to come up with a preliminary plan for the tentatively-named Tucson Medical Credit Union by July. His plan includes working with employers who could insure themselves with the help of a contracted insurance administrator. Health insurance payments from HMOs would shift to the credit union for use by public institutions and private businesses. A board of directors would set the rules for managed care and the cost of insurance. “Unlike for-profit, multinational corporate HMOs, we will save an enormous amount of money on insurance because there will be no stocks and dividends to stockholders, because the credit union is owned by the members,” Volgy said. The mayoral candidate also said unlike HMOs, “there will be no large sums going to administrative paperwork because the credit union won’t have to work with multiple HMOs that require all the paperwork. “There will be no CEOs and upper management earning tens of millions of dollars in annual salaries,” Volgy assured. Volgy said should the credit union get off the ground, it would result in “at least a 25% decrease in the cost of health care” for its potential membership and offer the availability of health care insurance for small businesses and individuals who cannot afford to insure “but could if the cost of insurance would decline.” Membership may include Tucson’s 13,000 city and county employees and their families, another 18,000 from the city’s four largest school districts and 12,000 from the University of Arizona, Volgy said. Volgy previously served as Tucson’s mayor in 1988 and as a city council member from 1978 to 1988. [email protected]

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