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Word from Washington gets worse by the day concerning meaningful health care reform. Blue Dog Democrats, including Nashville's own Jim Cooper, are doing their best to sabotage the "meaningful" part.
In sense, these conservative Democrats -- largely Southern or rural -- have legitimate beefs. Since Republicans have no plan of their own -- save for occasionally emerging from their holes to scream "socialism!" -- Blue Dogs may be the only people raising hell about the over all cost. They're also worried about reimbursement rates to rural medical providers, who've been typically screwed in other government-run plans.
But they're also sticking on one issue sure to blow up true reform. That's the government-provided care option. Private insurers have already proved they'll screw us. Their track record on this is long and illustrious. Which means the feds need to provide a basic, inexpensive alternative to keep them honest. Without it, there's no one in the market with consumer interests first and foremost. But the Blue Dogs don't want private insurers to face government competition. Why? Because insurers are very good at loading up their campaign treasuries.
Cooper, thought by many to be the Blue Dogs' key man on health care, may be the only guy strong enough to put the meaningful back in reform. But if he sticks to his guns, reform is dead. So when your premiums continue to rise at 10-20 percent a year -- and your coverage takes a corresponding dive -- you might want to just send the bill to Jim Cooper.