Enzi: Co-op Idea May Be Fine, But That Doesn’t Mean I’ll Support The Final Bill

In this post, and a couple others, I’ve made the point that there’s no evidence that potential Republican support for the idea of a co-operative health care system will translate into Republican support for the broader reform bill they’re attached to.

Here, for instance is how the Associated Press characterized Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi’s take on the co-ops. “Enzi likes an idea proposed by Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., to set up nonprofit cooperatives that would enable groups to put together their own health care plans.”

Enzi is the ranking member of the Senate HELP committee, and he’s been a harsh critic of the health care bill that’s come out of that panel. I talked to his spokesman this evening, who said the AP didn’t get things exactly right. More accurately, Enzi supports the Finance Committee’s process, which he said has been more transparent and bipartisan in spirit. He says the co-op proposal sounds promising, but he needs to learn more about it before he offers his full support to the provision.

But, crucially, even if Enzi does decide that co-ops are a great policy idea, he in no uncertain terms, withholds judgment on the greater bill. This is a common position in the GOP, and, frankly, a common legislative tactic in general. It’s not necessarily a wink and a nod toward a ‘no’ vote, but it raises concerns among Democrats–or at least it should–that Republicans might try to weaken the bill only to turn around and vote against it.