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A Simple Test for the Public Plan

In general, you can figure out whether something is a public plan by asking a single question: Is it run by the public sector? If no, then it's not a public plan. Simple as that.

This is another way of saying that whatever Kent Conrad's co-op plan idea is, it's not a public plan. Conrad's idea for private co-ops that would offer health insurance -- an idea I'm on record saying I like -- is not run by the public sector. That's why he compares it to Ocean Spray, the co-op that makes cranberry juice, rather than Medicare. It is, in other words, not a public plan. And Kathleen Sebelius shouldn't be implying otherwise.

By Ezra Klein  |  June 17, 2009; 4:43 PM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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I do think it is rich irony the Republicans are stopping a small expansion in socialism by backing the organizational structure of Syndicate-Anarchism. (I think the Republicans support co-ops only because they plan to cripple them with strange rules so that they die a quick death.)

The GOP may come to regret co-ops when they find out it is another word for worker's unions, people collectives, syndicates, or communes.

A small medicare like program only for individuals not insured would be very politically passive program. Million member strong cooperatives are a different matter. They will throw their political weight around. Ironically health care coops might just be the thing to save labor unions and let them because broader worker's unions.

Posted by: JonWa | June 17, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

Or you could ask, "does the plan have access to public money?"

Posted by: tomtildrum | June 18, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

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