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House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee

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Even Democrats give co-ops little support


Congressional Democrats are showing only lukewarm support for the struggling nonprofit insurance cooperatives created out of the Affordable Care Act as a partial way to offset the failure of efforts to create a “public option” that consumers could use instead of private insurance.

The insurance industry lobby blocked creation of the public option, though of course for poor people and the elderly there are  still the “public options’ of Medicaid and Medicare.

The co-ops were meant to lower insurance prices by challenging the industry giants’ dominance.

“I don’t want to sound like an apologist for the co-ops. I was never a fan,” said the No. 2 Democrat on the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, Mike Thompson of California, at a congressional hearing last week. “What most of us wanted was the public option. That would have provided the competition needed.”

The greatly shrunken co-op program remains a target for GOP,  even as it gets unenthusiastic help from Democrats. Their  final fate may have to await the results of next year’s elections.


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