It seems the Obama administration and the Democrats have conceded that a health care bill with the dreaded public option does not have not have the votes to pass the Senate, so now a less objectionable idea is being promoted:
Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D, who originally presented the co-op idea, told “FOX News Sunday” that the public option simply doesn’t have the votes to pass:
“The fact of the matter is there are not the votes in the United States Senate for the public option. There never have been,” he said. “So to continue to chase that rabbit I think is just a wasted effort.”
Conrad and other negotiators on the finance committee are instead pushing a system of nonprofit insurance cooperatives, as an alternative to the public plan.
“Co-ops are very prevalent in our society,” Conrad said. “They’ve been a very successful business model.”
The question I have is, how would these co-ops differ from the public option? Back in June,when the co-op idea was first circulated, Michael Tanner, a senior fellow specializing in health care at the Cato Institute suspected that Senate Democrats were not interested in Republican support:
“If it’s a co-op model, I suspect if it was sufficiently independent of government to make Republicans happy, the Democrats wouldn’t be happy,” Tanner told CNSNews.com. “The left wing of the Democratic Party would walk away, which is very insistent upon single payer, or certainly insisting on a robust public option and is not going to accept something watered down this much.”
The only rationale Democrats might have, then, for moderating their plans might be to “go far enough to make the [moderate Democrats] comfortable,” Tanner said. “[T]hat, I think, is their real target.”
“There’s no reason to do a co-op or any other option if it’s not somehow managed by government,” he said. “We have 1,300 insurance companies, and now we’d just have 1,350.”
Schumer seemed to concur, saying the plan would have to “achieve the same goals as a conventional public plan.”
More ominously, Harry Reid also seemed to concur when he said this back in July:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NY, told reporters Thursday that a system of nonprofit cooperatives could pass as a “public option,” or government-run health care, depending on how they are set up.
“We’re going to have some type of public option, call it ‘co-op’, call it what you want,” Reid said, adding that Democrats are working on “some verison of a co-op that may satisfy everyone.”
I think we have to watch closely “how the co-ops are set up”, because we all know that the “same goals as a conventional public plan” would be a single payer health care system.
We have to watch these Democrats like hawks.
Jimmie from the Sundries Shack isn’t buying:
Basically, what the White House is doing is giving up the name “public option” and replacing it with the Orwellian “competition”. My guess is that the ruse will work for a little while, especially because few if any members of the MSM will call them on their ploy.
Secretary Sibelius is, as usual, wrong. You can turn things over to the private sector and get lower cost, better service, and more efficiency. The President already admitted that last week when he reminded us what a horrible operation the Post Office runs compared to FedEx and UPS. Perhaps the Secretary needs to pay more attention to what her boss is saying on the campaign trail.
Meanwhile, the President’s “competition” will drive people out of plans they like into a government “death panel” plan they don’t want, which will end up costing them far more than they ever thought.
No, the Democrats haven’t given up yet. They’re watching the polls tilt against them, so they’ve given up one meaningless set of provisions and stopped using the phrase “public option”. They haven’t given up their quest for government-run health care complete with rationing boards. They won’t give that dream up easily. It is, after all, the progressive Holy Grail.
A couple of weeks ago, Gibby struggled to answer a simple question about the President’s stance on co-ops:
Obfuscation. It’s what he does best.
Erick Erickson at Redstate:
Do not believe that the public option is going away. Do not believe that the Democrats are going to give up on universal healthcare. They are not. They are going to change the language and keep the same goal and plan. It may take them longer, but they will continue pushing forward.
Now we are at the hour of danger. Republicans, wanting to appear reasonable, might cut a deal and go with co-ops. If they do, they are voting for a government take over of healthcare.
Keep the pressure up.
Marc Ambinder reported last night:
An administration official said tonight that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius “misspoke” when she told CNN this morning that a government run health insurance option “is not an essential part” of reform. This official asked not to be identified in exchange for providing clarity about the intentions of the President.
Just a reminder via Jake Tapper on Twitter:
in June the president refused to say inclusion of a public plan in the hc bill was non-negotiable.
Tapper also tweeted, for what it’s worth:
am not supporting or not supporting co-ops, just saying theyre not the same thing as govt run plan
The Politico reports this morning:
“This is just for the Senate,” a House leadership official said about the administration’s concession on a public option. “There is no way it passes the House the first time around without a public option.
Michelle Malkin ain’t buying, either:
White House public option ploy: A trial balloon, not a white flag
I’m not buying the hype. Are you?
Edmund Haislmaier pointed out a few weeks ago at The Foundry:
If by health care “co-op,” Congress means allowing private associations to collectively buy health insurance for their members or operate a health insurance exchange, or allowing people to buy health insurance from a non-profit, member-owned private insurer, then those would be positive, pro-consumer developments.
However, simply slapping the word “cooperative” onto a new “insurer,” but then specifying that the government — not the policyholders — picks the board of directors (as Sen. Schumer wants), or that taxpayers will subsidize it, or that it has to pay doctors and hospitals at Medicare rates, would just be an exercise in trying to disguise a “public plan.”