September 5th, 2009
03:22 PM ET
10 years ago

King: Farmers say co-ops work for feed, seed and health care

Farmers like Bob Topel have relied on co-ops for years to buy feed, seed, fuel and fertilizer.

Farmers like Bob Topel have relied on co-ops for years to buy feed, seed, fuel and fertilizer.

Editor's note: On CNN's "State of the Union," host and Chief National Correspondent John King goes outside the Beltway to report on the issues affecting communities across the country.

WATERLOO, Wisconsin (CNN) - On a dairy farm that Bob Topel likes to describe as "25 miles from anywhere," the term co-op is old hat.

"Co-ops have been around for well over 100 years in agriculture," Topel said while milking, feeding and other chores on his 660-acre farm.

"Here on our farm we buy everything - from seed, fuel, fertilizer, feed - everything we buy is pretty much through a cooperative." He sells his milk through a local cooperative, too.

And, for the past 10 months, Topel and his wife also get their health care through a cooperative, one he holds out as a model as Congress and the White House debate health care reform and specifically whether a robust, government-run health care option is necessary to provide competition with private insurers.

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Filed under: State of the Union
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. GI Joe

    Talk about socialism !!

    There is the true meaning. Letting a few ignorant people tell everyone else what we have to do. NO NO NO NO NO

    September 5, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  2. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    An excellent example of free enterprise. We don't need the government controlling health care. The public option is nothing more than another unfunded massive entitlement. Obama is presiding over history's most massive transfer of wealth from those who work and earn it to those who don't. He seeks to create a majority dependent on government handouts who will vote for Democrats forever.

    September 5, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. ThinkAgain

    Reminder: The public health care option is just that: An option. If you are like Mr. Topel and you like your health care plan, you keep it.

    One of the biggest lies told by the Republicans, Fox and others is that the government is going to "take over" their health care plans.

    It is not.

    September 5, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  4. notedscholar

    Of course farmers say this – they have little knowledge of urban life.

    It should furthermore come as no surprise that those farmers self-selected in terms of being for co-ops, also want socialized medicine. What your article doesn't point out is that the cooperative system is already socialist. Of COURSE they think it works for health care.


    September 5, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain

    The Katrina response happened under GW Bush, who had the smarts to put a former horse show judge in charge of FEMA.

    The "cash for clunkers" program was a huge success, so popular that additional funding was needed for it.

    Using these two as examples as reasons to be against the government offering a public health care option is typical of the nonsense spouted by the Republicans, Fox, and their unthinking followers.

    More simply put: It's an apples-to-oranges comparison and doesn't stand up to logic.

    September 5, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  6. ketrout

    I believe that there should be a "Public Option" and not a "Co-Op"

    Obama should look at other countries that have already "Universal" coverage and then adapt it to what the American people want.

    Do not want a "Trigger", because the government will not enforce it anyway. Just as we have Immigration laws and our government is not enforcing those laws. In 1986 when there were about 3 million ILLEGAL ALIENS that were granted "Amnesty", and by not enforcing the laws that they put into place then.

    Make it "CRYSTAL CLEAR" that NO ILLEGAL ALIENS will receive any free medical care!

    September 5, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    I want my country back! I'm really worried about the direction we're headed in!

    I was born in 1960 and raised in the atmosphere of hope, promise, and duty to country voiced by President Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr, Bobby Kennedy and others.

    – What happened to civil political discourse?
    – What happened to "United We Stand"?
    – What happened to tolerance and the belief that as the greatest country on earth we can solve any problem?
    – What happened to our collective soul?
    – And what the heck happened to the Republican Party that it's now run by a bunch of hysterics?

    September 5, 2009 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  8. Don't try to sell us co-ops.....

    by quoting some farmer from the boondocks......we do not want gov't in our lives.....we do not want socialism...."Don't tread on us"......

    September 5, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  9. Saint

    Why do you print stupid things like this? Stick to something he knows and leave health care to the pros. If he had to walk down a city street he woutd get run over.

    September 5, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  10. Loup Garou 782

    A viable co-op is not in the plans obama has for the nation. He is out to break the private industry insurers. His plan is for health care services doled out by government to whom ever the government feels is deserving of that service. Those who no longer contribute to the government will not be deserving of care.

    September 5, 2009 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  11. Chipster

    Great! Since co-ops work so well, we should do this with Medicare and Social Security. This should be perfect for college tuition programs – and a co-op could improve the Medicare drug program because a co-op would certainly be able to negotiate lower prices since the previous administration insisted on paying top dollar to the pharmaceutical companies.

    Let's just roll this co-op plan into all government programs while we're working on health care and get away from all these government programs that everyone hates so much.

    September 5, 2009 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. Chipster

    Man, now that I think about it – this could save all of us a bundle!

    We could co-op the CDC, FDA, FEMA, public education, and probably loads of government programs that I haven't even thought of yet. Wow! This could work out. It seems that most of the health care reform fear is coming from senior citizens so they'll probably be relieved to have a Social Security and Medicare co-op.

    Let's do it!

    September 5, 2009 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  13. GI Joe

    I want options, not a dictatorship telling me what I have to take.

    September 5, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  14. jules sand-perkins

    We'd better pay some attention to our farmers. They must be wise, because the food they grow is one of the few things produced in this country that the rest of the world wants to buy from us.
    Do all of you remember what time farmers get up in the morning to go to work?
    Everybody demanding more government handouts should ponder farmers' alarm clocks.

    September 5, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  15. Chipster

    Farm subsidies! Who needs them when you have co-ops! This is great – the list goes on and on. Inf fact, why would farmers need to borrow money from the government at lower interest rates for farm equipment when they could simply co-op all of that. Imagine the great rates they'll get when they pool their resources and handle it all themselves.

    Farm subsidies are completely SOCIALIST, aren't they? John King, you're such a genius. We'll have the budget balance and that pesky deficit under control in no time.

    September 5, 2009 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  16. W L Jones

    Co.Ops get Government tax credit for not only health care but feed ,seed and ferlizer. Technical it is pracically a government run agency except under a different name. We the tax payer sudside the farmer and buy there good which is a double wamber.

    September 5, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  17. annie against biased news

    Yes and in another article he told how expensive it was – cnn forgot that little detail!

    September 5, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  18. AJ

    Given that most farmers can't survive without Government subsidies, what makes them think they are qualified to give adivce on health care?

    September 5, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  19. AJ

    And maybe if the farmers payed taxes on all the of the illegal immigrants that they use for manpower, that money could help pay for health care for those that cant afford $1300 a mnth for insurance.

    September 5, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  20. Tina, NC

    This guy lost me at " Mine costs $1300 a month and it's reasonable because of my high blood pressure".

    $1300 a month premiums are reasonable??? The average worker doesn't even make $1300 a month.

    Forget the co-ops. Nothing put a bonus to the health insurance companies.

    September 5, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  21. jules sand-perkins

    The public option is not an "option" at all, because I won't have the option of not being taxed to pay for your cheap health-care insurance.
    Don't tell me it's just an option.

    OMG! Are some people really so stupid that they believe it's "just an option" and nobody has to pay for it?
    Well Dude, I don't want to pay for your insurance.

    September 5, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. Canaman

    I am not surprised that an ignorant farmer in the middle of nowhere is giving recommendations for health care, thanks to John King. After all, he has to protect the health insurance companies sponsoring his "one-sided" Sunday program.

    It's a new low, John, a new low, even for you. You've been doing all you want to make sure this President is not successful. Why can't you seem to find people around the country whose lives have been bettered by Obama's policies?? Don't they exist? I bet they do, but they don't fit into your agenda.

    Late Edition was far better and neutral than your right-wing program. Have a good weekend. You may choose not to post this comment, but I don't expect you to do so because it doesn't promote your agenda.

    September 5, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  23. Proud to be the Party of NO Socialism!

    The purpose of the so-called "public option" is that is swallow the private insurance industry. They want to get socialized medicine in the door, get everyone hooked on it, then make it mandatory.

    This is why we have to stop the public option. If you want health insurance, you have to pay for it, just like you have to pay for anything else that you want. You. Not me.

    September 5, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |