Below is the August 24th edition of Congressman Graves e-newsletter Straight Talk With Sam. In it, Congressman Graves addresses the issue of health care co-ops. We should be concerned about this because we really don’t know what they are and many think, like me, that its just a nice word for a public option plan.

Co-ops New Buzz Word in Washington

If anyone should know about our democracy, it is Thomas Jefferson. The third President said, “In matters of principle, stand like a rock; in matters of taste, swim with the current.” I agree on both counts.

In Washington they are not standing on principle, but instead focused on swimming with the current for political expediency. After months of hearing about how necessary a “public option” was to health care reform, the President and members of the Senate are now saying it really may not be necessary.

The public option is a bad idea and that is precisely the reason it is losing support across the country. Instead lawmakers are now buzzing about health care cooperatives. In typical Washington fashion, very little is known about the idea for co-ops, but that has not stopped them from being hailed as a possible savior.

These co-ops are meant to function like electric and agriculture co-ops. The federal government would spend six billion dollars as start up money. However, there are no details about how a co-op would work, who it would be available to, or who would determine what rules it would operate under.

By definition a co-op does not include government control. Yet some lawmakers seem to think that co-op is just another name for public option. I am open to any idea that helps increase competition and make health care affordable for more Americans. But if co-ops become the public option by another name, then the American people will oppose them as another attempt at government run health care.

Sincerely, 

Sam Graves

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