My my my. After Markos published poll results indicating Jim Cooper had a 16% approval rating on his handling of health care from Democrats in his district and was ripe for a primary challenge, Cooper isn’t too happy:
"Private polls are inherently inaccurate, and most people disregard them. He who pays the piper calls the tune, and the Daily Kos got what it wanted. The whole premise of the poll is that I oppose a public option, and that is simply not true. I have repeatedly said that I’m FOR a public option, and that there are multiple ways to do it. I agree with Sen. Chuck Schumer’s position on the issue, and the Daily Kos is not attacking him.
Cooper has said he’d vote no on H.R. 3200, which is the only bill out there with an even remotely viable public option. The only oath he has is to "controlling health care costs" and insuring that any health care bill is "deficit neutral."
And how does he plan to do that? Well, as chairman of the Blue Dog Coalition’s Health Care Reform task force, Cooper was responsible for drafting their principles should there happen to be a public option (which they do not endorse). Among them, "Adheres to the Free Market": which means keeping any public plan from using Medicare reimbursement rates. Since Medicare rates are about 80% of private insurance rates, add 20% more costs.
That means more money for doctors and hospitals, and higher premiums for constituents in his districts.
Cooper has also been promoting "co-ops," which are only a "public plan" in the mind of Kent Conrad and the insurance industry operatives who love them:
"A co-op is really used over three-quarters of the land area of America so we buy our electricity that way," said Cooper. "It’s a creature of the New Deal. It’s worked really pretty well over all the country for 70 or 80 years. It’s owned by the customers; it is not owned by the government. It works. It works real well. There are good ways to solve this problem…. We can solve any problem we want to in this great country. Let’s put our minds together and calmly and rationally solve this health care problem. It’s eluded every president for 60 years, but we can do it and we can do it without a big government solution."
Cooper’s sudden enthusiasm for rural electrical co-ops is puzzling, given the article he published in the Harvard Journal on Legislation blasting them only the year before for having "turned away from their historic role" as pro-consumer organizations and had "taken on deeply troubling anti-consumer behaviors." And as many have noted, co-ops would not have the bargaining clout to keep costs down — so, chalk up more "fiscal responsibility" hypocrisy from Cooper.
But more to the point, Cooper’s claim that the Kos poll presumes he "opposes a public option" is nonsense. None of the questions mention that.
Sure Cooper says he supports a public option. But the conditions he’s placed on one mean that it has no ability to control costs and be "deficit neutral" — which is the Cooper prime directive.
It’s arrogant and cynical to think nobody would notice. In other words, pure Jim Cooper.