[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/08/18/art.tomprice.tomprice.jpg caption="Rep. Tom Price came out against a non-profit health care co-op on Tuesday."](CNN) - Georgia Republican Tom Price, the chairman of the House Republican Study Committee and a medical doctor, came out against current proposals of a nonprofit health care cooperative to compete with private insurers, calling it "simply another name for a public option."
"The specifics of including a co-op are murky at best. Any Washington control over such a structure would raise immense concern," Price said in a statement. "Patients should be wary of a wolf in sheep's clothing."
The statement from Price, a leading critic of Democratic efforts to pass a health care reform bill, could indicate the inclusion of a health care co-op instead of a public option will likely do little to attract Republican support for the bill in the House.
"Health care reform should start and end with empowering patients," Price also said. "We welcome any discussion of new ideas that will bring patients closer to the care they need without government getting in the way.
The comments come the same day centrist Senate Democrat Kent Conrad promoted the notion of a co-op on CNN's American Morning Tuesday, saying similar business models have been "very successful" and "would certainly contribute to holding down" soaring costs.
Other Democrats, such as Rep. Anthony Weiner of New York - interviewed separately Tuesday on "American Morning" - say the public option is crucial for reform and the co-op idea is weak, lacking the track record or the immediate clout for generating reform.