Jon Walker wrote earlier about Speaker Nancy Pelosi backing off on her deal with the Blue Dogs in order to get the bill out of the Energy and Commerce Committee, but there’s more to the article about that story. Towards the last paragraph, you get this juicy little tidbit—the Blue Dogs are still planning to push the co-op scam as an alternative to the public option and the trigger as well as a "compromise."
Democrats are to discuss the public option at a caucus meeting Thursday. That discussion will include replacing the public option with nonprofit "cooperatives" that would compete with private insurers but would not be run by the government. A Senate Finance Committee bill has a similar provision.
The Blue Dogs chose the member who will present the co-op proposal.
Let me guess the Blue Dog that’ll be presenting this co-op scam. Will it be Mike Ross who was recently implicated in that illegal pharmacy sale? Or Jim Cooper from Tennessee who thinks that co-ops are just dandy?
The proposed co-ops in the current Senate Finance Bill would allow insurers such as Blue Cross Blue Shield to become a regional co-operative, which allows it to suck up even more money out of the proposed start-up money for these co-ops, and subsidies for low-income individuals and families. Also, the co-ops, as scored by the Congressional Budget Office, would absolutely no effect on lowering insurance premiums on a nationwide basis. They are not going to be highly competitive against private plans due to the economy of their scale, the time spent in negotiating rates with providers, and their ability to be co-opted by private insurers like Blue Cross blue Shield. It’s nothing more than a scam the Blue Dogs are trying to pull on the rest of the Democrats in the House on Thursday.
The question is, when that Blue Dog presents that "co-op scam" or a "trigger" proposal like Senator Snowe’s, will anyone in the rest of the Democratic caucus stand up to call bullshit on the whole idea? A couple of weeks ago, there was a Democrat who did that–Rep. Pete Stark. Once again, here’s what he said about the whole co-op scam below:
"There aren’t many of you listening who remember the co-ops in the ’30s, which was kind of a Roosevelt outfit, rural electric co-ops, phone co-ops," Stark said. "But, as I say, there is no real example of either the regulation, or how you would establish them, or where they would get enough people to have a purchasing base. So you might as well talk about unicorns. You know, what is a medical unicorn? My kids all know what a unicorn is. But you don’t. You have never seen one. So I think this co-op is just a way of ducking the issue of having the public plan."
I’m looking to see if on Thursday at that Democratic caucus, the progressive members of the Democratic Party will actually stand up and call out the Blue Dogs on their bullshit for what it actually is–an scam about to be pulled on the American people. It’s why we have to keep up our calls to the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and remind them precisely why they’re supposed to be the leaders in this Democratic majority. It’s time for them to start acting like winners instead of like losers.