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Sen. Conrad on Healthcare, Countrywide Loans

A cooperative healthcare plan is the only plan that has a the prospect of Senate passage, Sen. Kent Conrad, a member of the Senate Finance Committee (D-N.D.), told CNBC.

“In terms of a public (health care) option versus a cooperative plan, there’s been no final resolution, but I think there’s a good chance a cooperative plan will be adopted at least at the committee level,” he said.

The co-op plan, according to Conrad, is bipartisan, deficit neutral and membership controlled, versus government controlled. Under the proposal, co-operatives on a state and possibly a national level could gain a federal charter, collect premiums and provide health-care benefits for its members.

Conrad, a centrist Democrat, said leaving healthcare as is would spell disaster for families, businesses and the government.

“We’re spending twice as much per person as any other country in the world,” he added. “We’re spending $1 in every $6 in this economy on health care, and if we stay on the current trend line, we will spend $1 in every $3 in this economy.”

Meanwhile, as for getting 'sweetheart' loan deals from now defunct Countrywide, Conrad reasserted he had no knowledge he received special loan terms from the company when he purchased a beach house in Delaware and an apartment building in North Dakota.

Robert Feinberg, who worked in Countrywide's VIP section, told congressional investigators last month that Conrad and Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) were made aware of getting special loans.

“I have done nothing unethical, (Countrywide) never told me I was getting preferential treatment, and I did not believe I was," Conrad told CNBC.