Yes, well. As it turns out, co-ops are nothing but the "public option" in disguise, as this Investors Business Daily editorial spells out.
Canny Democrats have come up with the co-op idea for a couple of reasons. Primarily, they are hoping to find a way to argue that they occupy the center in the health care debate. They will present co-ops as a "compromise," which could be rejected only because of bad faith on the part of Republicans.
This maneuver will provide them, at least, with some facial justification for seeking to ram unpopular, sweeping destruction of our health care system down voters' throats on a strictly partisan basis. Or, they figure, the argument might succeed in attracting a few Republicans who are congenitally incapable of resisting the lure of supposed "bipartisanship."
Ultimately, the Democrats know they need some device for reuniting their own fractured ranks. It will be interesting to see if the party's left wing -- which threatened revolt over the absence of the "public option" -- is smart enough to catch on to what the operators are doing. If the lefties all of a sudden seem at peace with the defeat of the public option and embrace co-ops as a supposed "middle path," you'll know that the tactic has already enjoyed some limited success within Democratic ranks.