Health care reform is one of the most pressing issues that our nation faces today. Yet progress in the Senate is slow-going with Senator Baucus in charge. He has dragged his feet to stop the public option from being seriously considered and he is getting help from his conservative Democratic friends to appease not only the Republican minority, but the health care industry as well. Senator Conrad tried to argue for a "compromise" plan that lets non-profit cooperatives negotiate prices instead of Medicare, but Governor Dean was quick to shoot his ridiculous attempt at "bipartisanship" down.
This morning on MSNBC, former Gov. Howard Dean rejected Conrad’s proposal, saying it is “not a real compromise.” “This is a fix for the Senate problem,” he said, “this doesn’t fix the American problem.” After heaping praise on Conrad, Dean explained:
He’s wrong about this. The co-ops are too small to compete with the big, private insurance companies. They will kill the co-ops completely by undercutting them, using their financial clout to do it. In the small states like mine and like Senator Conrad’s, you’re never gonna get to the 500,000 number signed up in the co-op that you need to in order for them to have any marketing [power].
This is a compromise designed to deal with problems in the Senate. But it doesn’t deal with problems in America. And I think it’s time for the Senate to stop playing politics, do what has to be done. … If the Republicans don’t want to get on board, then we can do this without the Republicans.
That Senate problem has nothing to do with actual concerns of Americans who are either being denied or short-changed by the current health care system. The fact is, having a public option is the compromise. If leaving the system the way it is would be the starting conservative position, then instituting a single payer program like other Western democracies would be the beginning point for the liberals. Having the option to go with a public option is a great compromise, and it will give health care industry proponents the chance to prove in the open market that their way of doing things works best.
Of course, they know it doesn't, and that is why they have