A Co-op Doesn’t Necessarily Guarantee Cooperation

August 18, 2009

President Obama got elected because the American people wanted something different, they wanted change. They knew who Senator John McCain was but they didn’t know who this new Senator from Illinois was. President Obama was young, exciting and most importantly he was a change. He said he would be the agent of change without much detail, which left a blank palette for every person to paint their picture of what change they wanted. They could visualize this exciting young president mouthing their words and pushing their ideas. This blank pallet syndrome (my own disease invention) might explain the current “change” in attitude and declining popularity that the President is experiencing. As the details of his policies (especially his health care reform plans) unfold people are now beginning to see that the picture they had envisioned is not the one that is coming into focus.

Their picture didn't show poorly administrated stimulus funds, nor did their picture contain government run auto companies. Most importantly, their picture surely didn't have bureaucrats deep inside every facet of health care. This new picture of President Obama is the impetus behind the common people's voices that are now being raised in protest against the health care reform recommendations of the President. What will the President do? How can he get around this speed bump on his way to government run health care? I think he sees an insurance co-op as one answer.

The President has run up against some real resistance to government run health care, first in a rejection of a single payer solution and now by a major push back to even a public plan option. So, this weekend, he signaled that a public plan was not necessary to his health care reform plan. He intimated, through his spokespeople, that a co-op insurance plan might be acceptable. Hallelujah, all is well, our freedoms are preserved!!!

Not so fast…. I think that the co-op insurance plan is just another blank palette that everyone will use to paint their own solution. The devil, once again and always, is in the details. Will this be a public or private governed co-op? Will it be geographic by state, by region, or country wide? Will it be funded publicly or privately? Will it be like those co-ops that have been instituted already or completely different?

Once again we need to see who's driving before we jump on the bus. Let’s find out the details, let’s take it slow, let’s maybe do this step by step rather than jump in whole hog. There are good health care reform solutions out there and I’m convinced that we can find them – if we take a common sense approach to solving this problem. We should take the time to do it right, and pay attention to every detail. At least that’s the way I see it.

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