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Rockefeller to Baucus, Conrad: Co-ops Are a Sham, Public Option Is a Must

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He adds that "consumer health insurance cooperatives identified by the USDA and NCBA operate and function just like private health insurance companies....This further substantiates my point that health insurance co-ops are not a real alternative to private health insurance and they are not a substitute for a strong public plan option, and we should not suggest to the American people that they would be."

"It seems to me," he scolds, "that, if you are proposing to implement consumer health insurance co-ops on the scale contemplated by the Finance Committee, then you certainly should know what has been the experience with them so far.... I believe it is irresponsible to invest over $6 billion in a concept that has not proven to provide quality, affordable health care, when we know that a public health insurance option will rein in costs and save taxpayers billions of dollars."

You can read the entire letter here.

Yesterday, Rockefeller announced that he can not support Baucus' health care reform proposal without significant changes.

About The Author

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Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com