When are Democrats going to stop letting Republicans railroad them? Now comes word that the White House is ready to abandon its attempt to give Americans a government option on health care.
Facing mounting opposition to the overhaul, administration officials left open the chance for a compromise with Republicans that would include health insurance cooperatives. Such a concession is likely to enrage his liberal supporters but could deliver Obama a much-needed win on a top domestic priority opposed by GOP lawmakers.
Compromise is one thing, but the idea of a government plan that would compete with private insurance carriers was a compromise from Obama’s earlier stated position favoring single-payer health care. Co-ops, pushed by North Dakota Senator Kent Conrad (pictured), would still use taxpayer dollars for start-up costs, but would then be privately run.
“It’s not government-run and government-controlled,” he said. “It’s membership-run and membership-controlled. But it does provide a nonprofit competitor for the for-profit insurance companies, and that’s why it has appeal on both sides.”
As proposed by Conrad, the co-ops would receive federal startup money, but then would operate independently of the government. They would have to maintain the same financial reserves that private companies are required to keep to handle unexpectedly high claims.
This further compromises (they just removed late-life counseling for fear that they’d be labeled “death panels”) may run into trouble with progressive Democrats.
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas (r), said it would be difficult to pass any legislation through the Democratic-controlled Congress without the promised public plan.
“We’ll have the same number of people uninsured,” she said. “If the insurance companies wanted to insure these people now, they’d be insured.
With the Blue Dogs and a White House that bends over backwards more than the opposition party moves forward, who needs Republicans?