Could a co-op be a legitimate option?

As talk of a public option for healthcare appears to be dying down, cries for a co-op, once again, are getting louder.

Back in June, we wrote about Sen. Kent Conrad's (D-ND) plan to essentially create a regional cooperative that he believes could achieve the public option's goals without the government's help. Now, Conrad's "Gang of Six"--two other Democrats and three Republicans from the Senate Finance Committee--have a better chance to push this agenda, as they are scheduled to discuss how to "keep prospects for a bipartisan health plan alive" on a teleconference, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Conrad has talked about co-op programs in Seattle and Minnesota as examples of how such a strategy would be enacted. In those two instances, as with Conrad's vision, the federal government would only give start-up money to the various regions to help get the co-op plan off the ground, but would have no managerial responsibilities thereafter.

Those that oppose such ideas, such as Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), believe that a co-op could essentially be considered the same as a public option. Kyl says that the start-up money and the tax advantages that would be made available for co-ops would "put private insurers at a disadvantage"; he also believes that, despite what Conrad thinks, the government would exercise control of the co-ops.

What do you think? Do you feel that a co-op is a legitimate option?

To learn more:
- read this Los Angeles Times article