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Conrad and Schumer Nearing an Agreement?

Sen. Chuck Schumer, whom Sen. Max Baucus asked to be the Democratic point man on the public plan, and Sen. Kent Conrad, whom Baucus charged with crafting a compromise on the public plan, seem to be coming to a pretty encouraging convergence. Huffington Post's Ryan Grim caught up with Conrad yesterday and got this rundown:

Conrad ticked off the areas of agreement that were reached Monday.

"National structure: I believe to be effective there has to a national entity with state affiliates and those affiliates have to have the ability to regionalize. I think his concern there can be addressed," said Conrad. "Second, he believes there needs to be national purchasing power. I think that's a good point that the national entity would be able to do purchasing on behalf of the state and regional affiliates and on behalf of the national entity itself."

Schumer wants $10 billion to start the plan, after which it would be self-sustaining. Conrad said the "state of negotiations" is that $3 to $4 billion would be provided.

Schumer wants the board overseeing the plan to be appointed by the president. Conrad said that according to the state of negotiations, the Health and Human Services Secretary would be charged with appointing the board.

Conrad wants the board to be temporary and eventually disappear, leaving the co-op to be run by its members. Schumer, said Conrad, still wants the board to be permanent.

If you've got all that -- and if Schumer wins on the permanent board -- then you really are in a situation where it doesn't matter if you call this a co-op or a public plan.

By Ezra Klein  |  June 23, 2009; 12:34 PM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Next: The Smackdown That Wasn't


Actually, it does matter if you pretend to call the co-op plan a "public option." It's playing the same old hoodwink and bamboozle game.

Posted by: dailykos1 | June 23, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

It is a "co-op" after all. Why should Schumer or Conrad decide when and if it loses it government oversight board. Why don't they do what you are suppose to do in a co-op and put it up for a vote. Every six years send out a vote by mail ballet if 50% vote against the federal board it will be dropped.

Posted by: JonWa | June 23, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Isn't the devil in the details of what would happen to the program if it turns out not to be self sufficient? If its a one time cost to get the infrastructure started then I have no problem whatsoever with this. But I also think its inevitable that the government would end up supplementing this so it could be more "fair".

Posted by: spotatl | June 23, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure I get how the "co-op" idea works. Do you have to stay in hospitals in your state or region? Because that could have a huge affect on the quality of your health care.

Posted by: katiebird36 | June 23, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

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