Monday, August 17, 2009

What's a "Co-op"?

Has health-care reform been beaten? From the AP:

Facing mounting opposition to the overhaul, administration officials left open the chance for a compromise with Republicans that would include health insurance cooperatives instead of a government-run plan. Such a concession probably would enrage Obama's liberal supporters but could deliver a much-needed victory on a top domestic priority opposed by GOP lawmakers.

Under a proposal by Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., consumer-owned nonprofit cooperatives would sell insurance in competition with private industry, not unlike the way electric and agriculture co-ops operate, especially in rural states such as his own.

I'm pretty sure this will turn out to be the same thing in new packaging, either by design or by effect. These government co-ops will likely need an endless series of bailouts to stay solvent, and I expect Obama knows that once created, they won't be permitted to fail. Except they will lack direct accountability. Mmmm . . . where have we seen this before? Oh, yeah: the GSEs.

"I think there will be a competitor to private insurers," Sebelius said. "That's really the essential part, is you don't turn over the whole new marketplace to private insurance companies and trust them to do the right thing."

Obama's spokesman refused to say a public option was a make-or-break choice. "What I am saying is the bottom line for this for the president is, what we have to have is choice and competition in the insurance market," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Sunday.

I imagine the Left is in stitches at the appropriation of McCain's words from last Fall to mean almost the exact opposite of what he meant.

I'm going back to bed. I'll try to have something more interesting to say about this subject tomorrow.

No comments: