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June 17, 2009
Get ready for betrayal by centrist Republicans on health care
They have no chance whatsoever of changing the Democrat's health care bill to reflect even minimal conservative principles. But centrist Republicans are "negotiating" with more "moderate" Democrats on health care, hoping to gain a few scraps so they can go back to the home folks and crow about how they helped pass a bill that will fundamentally alter the relationship between the governors and the governed in this country.
Molly Hooper of The Hill has gotten wind of these secret meetings:
The talks have been so secretive and politically sensitive that some members interviewed by The Hill refused to name other legislators involved in the bipartisan effort. I don't think there is any chance a "public option" will be left off of any bill passed by the House. The whole idea of this exercise for the Democratic leadership and Obama is to seize control of the health care industry. You're just not going to do that without forcing people on to the government insurance rolls while undermining the private insurance option.
Members of the centrist GOP "Tuesday Group," the New Democrat Coalition and the 52-member Blue Dog Coalition have been discussing both the policies and politics of moving their middle-of-the-road ideas in a body of Congress usually dominated by liberal or conservative ideology.
Those centrist factions are wary of the proposals their respective leaders will introduce this month. Blue Dogs are leery of the so-called public option in the healthcare reform bill that is expected to hit the House floor this summer. Meanwhile, GOP centrists opted to release their own healthcare plan a day before House GOP leaders are scheduled to unveil their reform package.
Noting that some members could be retaliated against by their leaders, some lawmakers declined to mention to whom they were talking. Rep. Patrick Tiberi (R-Ohio) said that he wouldn't "throw [Blue Dogs] under the bus" by revealing the identities of his Democratic colleagues.
The centerpiece for these moderates is a plan that is brokered through insurance co-operatives - privately funded but non profit. Apparently, many of our ignorant lawmakers believe that profit is evil and that if you simply take that away, all will fall magically into place. Susan Ferrechio of The Washington Examiner looked at the idea of insurance co-operatives yesterday and reports it is gaining interest in the senate:
The idea of establishing a health insurance cooperative appears to be gaining popularity in the Senate, as Democrats grapple with the staggering cost and mounting opposition to the creation of a government-run health insurance provider.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he was "very impressed" after talking about such a plan with Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., who represents one of a half-dozen states that offer a health care cooperatives.
The cooperative idea - championed by Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., - would have the government establish, but not run, an insurance company that operates as a nonprofit for its members' benefit. Reid said he "would be satisfied" with such a plan if it would make private health insurance companies "honest."
The majority leader said Reed will "push this real hard" as a member of the Senate health committee, although that panel has so far produced a bill with a government-run option.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., who is writing a separate health care reform bill, said he was weighing the idea.
"There are examples of a number of cooperatives that are working," Baucus said. A report from the Congressional Budget Office says the cost of the leading health plan in the Senate would be about $1 trillion over 10 years, even before the price of a government-run health insurance company is factored in.
Just another add on to the already exploding cost of this boondoggle.