So if the air has leaked from a government-run health insurance program to compete with private companies and bring costs down, what about these insurance cooperatives?
Clearly there’s no cohesive Republican game plan yet. On Monday, in a Fox News conversation with Sean Hannity, Ralph Reed dismissed insurance co-ops as a Trojan horse just as evil as its predecessor:
”The co-op they’re talking about will be heavily subsidized by the federal government and initial subsidy of $3 million — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg because they’re always wrong on their projections.
“Remember the public option, the government run plan masquerading as a co-op will be subsidized with our tax dollars and that will lead to substandard care across the board and be a major problem.”
But in conversations with Atlanta reporters on Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss didn’t sound so sure. Here’s an excerpt posted by Denis O’Hayer on the Web site for WABE (90.1FM):
”I think the idea of a cooperative is intriguing and I think has possibilities. It’s obviously the structure of the co-op that would be important. We want to make sure it’s not a back door into a government plan.
“But, you know, we have a number of co-ops in agriculture. We have a number of co-ops in other industries today that work very well. And they’re owned by the people that participate in them.”
Chambliss was asked what Democrats and Republicans might have to give up to reach a compromise. Democrats would have to give up on the public option, which the Georgia senator said won’t have traction in the Senate.
But Republicans, he said, might have to give on the issue of employer-mandated health insurance. “Hopefully we can look at all of these issues and come to some reasonable, medium compromise,” Chambliss said.
— On Tuesday, we told you of a Web site established with the object of persuading state Democratic Chairman Jane Kidd into the race for U.S. Senate, against Republican incumbent Johnny Isakson.
In an e-mail, her spokesman, Martin Matheny, said there’s nothing to it:
Absolutely not happening. The whole “draft Jane” thing was an independent idea, and when she was contacted by the organizer about it, she asked him not to pursue it. She’s not interested, not running, and totally focused on her work rebuilding the Democratic Party.
— House Appropriations Chairman Ben Harbin told Columbia County officials Tuesday that a special session of the Legislature was needed to make more substantial cuts to cope with a $900 million shortfall in state revenue. At the same time, Harbin hinted that it probably won’t happen.
This from the Augusta Chronicle:
“We need to go in and end programs we don’t need, and the only way we can do that is with a legislative session,” Mr. Harbin said. Though enough support exists in the House to convene a special session, he said too many senators are resistant to the idea.
— The city of Atlanta is scrambling to find a way to spend $30 million in grant money — or else send it back to Washington at the end of this year.
My AJC colleague D.L. Bennett says officials are toying with the idea of just sticking the cash in a credit union. Whether or not that works, Councilman C.T. Martin expressed the pressure that City Hall was under:
“People can read,” Martin said. “And they can understand. There’s an election coming up. At some point people are going to question the competence of the government.”
— On that topic, InsiderAdvantage is reporting the results of a new poll this morning on the Atlanta mayoral race. According to IA, the poll:
….showed City Council Member Mary Norwood continuing to lead the race, with 30% saying they would vote for Norwood. But statistically tied with Norwood was City Council President Lisa Borders with 28%.
Lagging behind the two women were state Sen. Kasim Reed with 8% and attorney Jesse Spikes with 2%. The rest said they were undecided.
Cross tabs will be offered up later today. The MOE on the survey was 5 percentage points.
— In a few minutes, the House Transportation Committee will hold a first meeting to approve Todd Long for his appointment to the position of director of planning at the state Department of Transportation. No fireworks are expected.
While you ponder that, consider these items found while perusing this morning’s ajc.com:
The tug-of-war over state School Superintendent Kathy Cox’s million-dollar winnings. Another month at the state DOT, another stinging agency review. Or three. State Ethics Commission head quits. Young endorsement a coup for Kasim Reed ’s mayoral bid. Crime in unincorporated Gwinnett on decline. Veteran Gwinnett County commissioner won’t seek re-election. Home Depot second-quarter profit beats expectations.
Your Luckovich fix. Cynthia Tucker on the return of the vast rightwing conspiracy. Bob Barr expounds on booting the homeless from the Big Apple. Chip Pearson wants to expand water storage options.
From elsewhere in Georgia
WP: White House officials acknowledge surprise at intraparty rift over health insurance. NYT: A conservative’s road to same-sex marriage advocacy. Politico: Lobbyists sent 13 fake letters to Hill in opposition to climate bill.
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