Maybe If Obama Changes His Party Registration
Maybe then we can get those nice Republicans to go along with the White House's plans. Apparently what Kent Conrad made up in the middle of the night during a staff brainstorm session isn't really their cup of tea, either.
“PUBLIC OPTION” BY ANY OTHER NAME IS STILL GOVERNMENT-RUN HEALTH CARE
SO WHAT IS A “CO-OP”?
Co-Ops Would Be Funded By Federal Government. “Senator Kent Conrad, a Democrat, proposed creating nonprofit, member-operated health cooperatives to compete with insurers … The government would offer start-up money -- Conrad said $6 billion would be needed -- in loans and grants to help doctors, hospitals, businesses and other groups form nonprofit cooperative networks to obtain and provide healthcare.” (“Q&A – Co-Ops In Focus In U.S. Health Care Debate,” Reuters, 7/30/09)
Co-Ops Would Be Regulated By Federal Government. “Advisory board makes recommendations to HHS Secretary who makes final decisions about approvals of business plans … Business plans must meet governance standards, and eligible applicants must meet the standard for non-profit, participating mutual insurance.” (“Senate Finance Committee Draft Proposal,” 6/19/09)
Co-Ops Would Force Individuals Who Want To Join To Go Through State Governments. “Co-op membership would be offered through state insurance exchanges where small businesses and individuals without employer-sponsored plans would shop for health coverage.” (“Q&A – Co-Ops In Focus In U.S. Health Care Debate,” Reuters, 7/30/09)
Federal Government Would Use Co-Ops To Monopolize Health Insurance. “[T]hese co-ops sound a lot like a health-care Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which Congress created because there was supposedly no secondary mortgage market. The duo proceeded to use their government subsidy to dominate the market and drive out private competitors.” (Editorial, “Fannie Med,”The Wall Street Journal, 7/30/09)
The leader of the Republican Party said basically the same thing today, actually admitting that "there is no reason to have this kind of liberal reform without a public option."
Who could have predicted? Why, it's almost as if it's not the particulars of the bill at all that upset the GOP, but the very act of passing a bill at all. In this environment, it seems so perfectly sensible to try to fashion compromises with Senators who won't vote for any bill even if they get everything they want out of it.
I think the White House should really mull over the party-switch idea. After all, it would show the President's commitment to post-partisanship. Sure, some of the more officious Democrats may be disappointed, but think of the great David Brooks op-eds!