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.
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