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Jim Cooper is the star of a favorable report in the Economist
headlined "What now for Obamacare?" Here's how the article begins:
"It's a lot easier to be Santa than Scrooge," harrumphs Jim Cooper. The congressman from Tennessee is complaining about the health-reform plan unveiled in July by the Democratic leadership in the House of Representatives. He thinks it is a populist initiative that will end up fueling rather than curbing America's runaway health inflation. Such tough talk would not be in the least surprising coming from the opposition party; but Mr Cooper is a Democrat. And he insists that reform efforts have gone so badly wrong that it is time to "go back to the drawing board."
According to the Economist, Cooper and the House Blue Dogs and Max Baucus' Gang of Six in the Senate are the level-headed ones in this debate, pushing for much-needed cost reforms like the creation of an Independent Medicare Advisory Council to take decisions about that program out of petty politics.
With the good comes bad for Cooper. He's also featured prominently in that report we mentioned yesterday from the Center for Responsive Politics
titled "Blue Dog Bark Backed by Insurers."
The typical Blue Dog has received $10,300 more from insurers than the typical non-Blue Dog Democrat in the House (including health and accident insurers, HMOs and other health services) and only $3,625 less than the typical House Republican. According to the report, Cooper has taken $921,670 from the health sector in the last twenty years, including $153,175 from health insurance concerns and $104,650 from pharmaceuticals companies.
Is it any coincidence that Blue Dogs argue the public health insurance option should be created only if market reforms and competition don't lower costs on their own? The Blue Dogs just cut a deal
in the House to relieve more small businesses from the employer mandate. But if small businesses don't have to offer insurance and there's no public option, won't that leave a lot of people without coverage?