Top House conservative leaves door open to backing co-ops

The leader of the House Republicans' conservative conference signaled Tuesday that a healthcare compromise including non-profit cooperatives might not be opposed by his group.

Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) left the door open to backing (or at least not opposing) legislation containing co-ops in lieu of a public (or "government-run") insurance option for consumers.

"We welcome any discussion of new ideas that will bring patients closer to the care they need without government getting in the way," Price said in a statement. "A co-op by definition, however, does not include government control."

The Senate has been considering a bipartisan compromise on healthcare favoring co-ops, but House liberals have openly revolted against that, promising that a health bill without a public option would go down.

Price's statement, though, was notable for not having ruled out supporting co-ops, while liberal Democrats have openly speculated that some conservative Republicans would

But Price cautioned that the way a co-op system is crafted would be key for some GOP members.

"The specifics of including a co-op are murky at best," Price said in a statement. "Patients should be wary of a wolf in sheep