Kent Conrad on the Ed Schultz defending his proposal for health cooperatives as an alternative to the public option in health care reform. Robert Reich has more over at TPM.
Nonprofit health-care cooperatives won't have any real bargaining leverage to get lower prices because they'll be too small and too numerous. Pharma and Insurance know they can roll them. That's why the Conrad compromise is getting a good reception from across the aisle, just as Olympia Snowe's "trigger" (whereby no public option until some time down the pike, and only if Pharma and Insurance don't bring down and extend coverage a tad) is also gaining traction.
The truth is that there's only one "public option" that will truly bring down costs and premiums -- one that's national in scale and combines its bargaining power with Medicare, and is allowed to negotiate lower drug prices and lower doctor and hospital fees. And that's precisely what Pharma and Insurance detest, for exactly the same reason.