“Can You Find The Republican Who Will Vote For Health Insurance Co-Ops?”
August 19, 2009, 7:00am

By Bill Scher

The NY Times lede today said the White House “willing to compromise and would consider a proposal for a nonprofit health cooperative being developed in the Senate.”

Compromise with who?

What Republicans have said he or she will vote for health care reform if it includes cooperatives instead of a publicly-run insurance option?

The only people clamoring for more compromise are those Democrats like Max Baucus who believe a health care bill should garner a mega-super majority 70 votes, requiring substantial Republican support.

But we do not have 10 Republicans who have said they would definitely vote for the bill if a public option is dropped in favor of co-ops. (I’m not even aware of one, but am happy to be informed otherwise.)

In fact, we have received the opposite signals from leading Senate Republicans.

Fox News reports that the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell “said that even if negotiators put forward a system of nonprofit cooperatives instead of a public plan — something President Obama reportedly is open to — he
still wouldn’t support it.”

Nor the head of the Senate Republicans’ campaign committee, Sen. John Cornyn, Fox reports: “Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said a ‘co-op’ could be a ‘government takeover’ by another name, adding that he’d have to see the details.”

Not even Baucus’ Republican negotiating partners Sens. Chuck Grassley and Mike Enzi have committed to support a co-op compromise.

If these conservatives were really interested in compromise, and had a shred of interest in solving the health care crisis, they would be jumping for joy today after this fresh round of reports that the White House is willing to junk the public option.

Yet I only hear silence.

There is absolutely no point trying to chase down these greased pig conservative Senators.

And if you can’t get them, you can’t get the skittish right-leaning Democrats who want a bipartisan bill for appearance’s sake.

By abandoning a public option, you simply lose a lot of Democrats, and get no Republicans.

What’s. The. Point.