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“Congress’ efforts to overhaul the nation’s health care system are plagued by an age-old urban-rural, east and west coast vs. the heartland schism in the Democratic Party,” write McClatchy Newspapers reporters David Lightman and William Douglas. The reporters point to a remark from California Democrat Rep. Pete Stark, the urban chair of the House Ways and Means health Subcommittee as evidence of the “tension” between city and country. “Well, the only co-op I know about is when I used to milk cows and we sold the milk to Golden Guernsey. And I think there’s only one co-op left,” said Stark, who considers the co-op idea a non-starter. “There aren’t many of you listening who remember the co-ops of the ’30s, which was a — just kind of a Roosevelt outgrowth of rural electric co-ops, phone co-ops.”

Meanwhile, Democrat Rep Charlie Melancon of Louisiana announced he would run for the U.S. Senate as a “pro-life, pro-gun Southern Democrat.” “The two sides don’t understand each other. They’re reading from different scripts,” said Steven Schier, professor of political science at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn.

The health care fight has centered on whether there should be a public option for health insurance, or whether co-ops should be created as a competitor to the for-profit health insurance industry. Republicans have not shown an inclination to endorse either model.

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