... if the New York Times' Katharine "Kit" Seelye, who is live-blogging the Senate Finance Committee's discussion of the public option today, knew something about the policy of health care, so that she could provide some context rather than repeat dubious assertions. She has been covering the health care debate, after all, so you'd presume she's picked up some actual, independent knowledge along the way.
But apparently not. She repeats what Sen. Kent Conrad of North Dakota, who has emerged as the most difficult opponent of the public option among Democrats, and who was recently caught not having a clue what he is talking about, says about his beloved co-ops:
Mr. Conrad says that “we’ve gotten locked in a really sterile debate” that promotes either the status quo or the public option. He says he has a good alternative, which would be to set up co-ops, although he doesn’t spell out his proposal at this point. He merely says that this alternative has been adopted in other countries, provides universal coverage and does “a better job of controlling costs and have higher-quality outcomes than ours.”
So is what Conrad says about co-ops here at all true? From what I've read, no. But you'd think Seelye would be able to provide some sort of fact-checking.
The only thing she does challenge is a Times poll that found 65 percent of Americans favor a public option, citing what appears to be a rather thin argument that appeared in a Times' blog asserting that the poll results are not accurate because the public option as it is currently written in Congress will not be available to everyone right away.