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The Conrad Health Reform Compromise

As Congress delves into its much anticipated health care reform debate, the discussion thus far has been framed as a black vs. white clash between those (mostly

Amandeep Coleman
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Jun 10, 2009

As Congress delves into its much anticipated health care reform debate, the discussion thus far has been framed as a black vs. white clash between those (mostly Democrats) in support of a public plan to compete with private insurers, and those (mostly Republicans) for whom such an option is a non-starter.

Enter Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, who earlier this week floated vague ideas about creating cooperatives that would offer consumers a new coverage option that wouldn’t be run by the government. On Tuesday, Conrad explained his rationale to Fox News:

The other side very much wants to have a competing delivery model to provide additional competition … for-profit insurance companies. And the cooperative model does that as well, because it’s not for profit and so poised to compete well with for-profit insurance companies. [...]

[T]he strong objection from some Republicans and some Democrats to public option is that it’s government run, that it’s perhaps a back-door approach to single payer and you’ve got government setting rates. This avoids all that because it’s not run by the government. It’s membership-controlled, membership-run, just like all the cooperatives around the country that already exist.

Congressional interest in the concept, Conrad says, “is growing.”

Amandeep Coleman | Amandeep had never known a moment when she wasn't reading or making up stories, having been born into a family of readers. She took out a pencil and notebook during the now-famous blizzard and started writing down one of those stories. It was there that I began my professional life. Her first book was written after several rejections and manuscripts. She is a member of many writers' organizations and has received several accolades from her peers and the publishing industry. The New Yorker recently dubbed her "America's favorite novelist".

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