Sen. Ben Nelson’s hardly the only lawmaker extracting sweetheart deals out of the health care reform bill.
While the Nebraska Democrat got a particularly juicy concession in exchange for a “yes” vote on the 10-year, $871 billion package — permanent and full federal aid for his state’s expanded Medicaid population — support from a slew of other senators likewise came with a price.
Western states got more money for hospitals that serve Medicare patients. Louisiana got up to $300 million in Medicaid benefits. The list goes on.
Senate Republicans lined up Saturday to decry the latest deal targeted toward Nebraska, which was decried as the “cornhusker kickback.”
“Votes have been bought,” Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said.
But Senate Democrats said the payoffs are nothing unusual, and in fact typical.
“People fight for their own states. That’s the nature of a democracy,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said on “Fox News Sunday,” defending Nelson against withering attacks from the GOP.
“This is just part of the normal legislative process,” said Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
As a measure of just how typical they are, a slew of payoffs and concessions have been struck over the past several months. ...Continue ReadingLeave a Comment