Wednesday, March 17, 2010

As House Health Care Vote Looms, Cooper Remains Undecided

Posted By on Wed, Mar 17, 2010 at 12:13 PM

click to enlarge oie_newcooper.jpg

According to a Washington Post table, Cooper remains undecided on health care reform in its current state. The Senate's health care bill is, of course, far from perfect. And the move toward a rule that would "deem" its own passage as tacit approval of the Senate measure -- followed by sidecar legislation aimed at modifying some of the more ridiculous terms of the Senate bill, like the Nebraska giveaways -- strays far from the ideal path toward ratification.

It all sounds much more like one of Cooper's darker prognostications: That the House would be forced to swallow the Senate bill like some bitter pill.

UPDATE: Pith reached out to Cooper's camp, who would only say this of Cooper's intent: He won't make a decision until he's seen final legislation.

Yet how could any of it be otherwise? The country is only beginning to lurch out of a recession. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and special interest groups like America's Health Insurance Plans are, as they did in the '90s, spending millions to gin up Big Government fear and deploying astroturfed protests at legislators' offices -- many populated by gray-haired men and women enjoying Medicare while, without irony, warning of the dangers of government-run health care.

I suppose it's impossible to have a debate on an issue of this magnitude and import that doesn't devolve into something completely disingenuous. Moderates seem to be fleeing from the health care bill as though it were the very embodiment of a coming '10 upset in the home district. As we've suggested before, Cooper doesn't seem to have this problem. The Post has some additional information that may inform how he should vote and, perhaps, how he will vote: 15.6 percent of his district is uninsured. That's more than 90,000 people. (Enough to sway the outcome should a contender enter the ring in the coming election?)

The Post also points out that nearly $1 million in Cooper contributions come from the health industry. That's much more than some, but certainly less than others. And in a health care-centric community like Nashville, not all that surprising. Here's hoping the 90,000 have more influence.

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