Cantor: Details Lacking on Co-op Proposal

The Obama administration's recent support for a co-op to change the nation's health-care system doesn't seem to be immediately doing the trick in courting Republican lawmakers.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) was quick to point out to CBS Anchor Maggie Rodriguez on "The Early Show" that there's not much information available about a possible co-op proposal.

"We don't know really what a co-op is going to be," Cantor said. "But if it is just another name for government takeover of our health care, I'm not going to be for that, nor do I think most Americans will support that."

Cantor isn't the only top Republican pivoting to the "government takeover" argument many Republicans used to combat against the idea of the federal government providing a public option to health insurance.

"You can call it a co-op, which is another way of saying a government plan," Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said in Tuesday's edition of The New York Times.

Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) has been the main force behind the co-op idea, which would initially get off the ground with public money and eventually be operated by members themselves as a non-profit.

"I know Senator Conrad and the others who are floating this idea of a co-op have not offered many details," Cantor said. "What I do know is the people that I represent here in Virginia and most of the people around the country are speaking up now and don't want to see a government takeover of our health care."

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Indeed, recent polls show Americans are losing confidence in the future of health care and have little confidence in the stimulus package.

There has been a five-point drop among Americans who favorably view the direction of health care, a survey conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a philanthropic organization that supports health care reform, found. Among older Americans eligible for Medicare, the drop from June through July was 10 points.

According to a USA Today/Gallup Poll, 57 percent of Americans say the stimulus package has had no effect on the economy or is making it worse (only 18 percent think it has improved their financial situation).

"The reality is people are still across this country facing economic crisis," Cantor said. "Right now families are worried about their job security."

Before Cantor's interview, "The Early Show" reported that the nation's unemployment rating was at 9.4 percent.

"Eight-point-five percent unemployment was set as the highest goal," Cantor said. "Unfortunately, what we know now is nationally, as the report just indicated, we're at 9.4 percent, and unfortunately seeming to go higher in some areas."

  • Alex Sundby

    Alex Sundby is an associate news editor for