Who got what for Healthcare Votes

Nebraska, Vermont and Massachusetts scored $1.2 billion in special Medicaid assistance. Nelson got something for Nebraska the other states didn’t — a permanent exemption on increased state costs for new patients that come into Medicaid through the plan.

Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming secured higher federal reimbursement rates for doctors and hospitals that serve Medicare patients.

Senior citizens in Florida, Pennsylvania and New York will see their Medicare Advantage benefits protected at a time when the program will be trimmed nationwide.

Jim Manley, Reid’s spokesman, defended the special provisions as “a normal part of the legislative process.”

But Republicans, despite their use of similar tools while in the majority, spent Sunday blasting Democrats.

“This process is not legislation. This process is corruption,” Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said. “And it’s corruption that’s obvious to the average American in this country,” Coburn said. “And it’s a shame that that’s the only way we can come to consensus in this country is to buy votes.”

 Coburn also blasted a mystery provision tucked into the bill, $100 million for a university hospital. Reid’s office could not say what senator asked for it but late Sunday night, Sen. Chris Dodd fessed up, saying he’s hoping the money will come to the University of Connecticut. Dodd is facing a difficult re-election battle.

Coburn also said he hoped one of his fellow senators didn’t show up for the pivotal 1 a.m. vote – an admission that Republicans were powerless to stop the procession of votes toward passage.


How does it feel, Nelson, to sell out, and how much did you get?

Feeling like I have pulled  an all nighter, the choice on whether to opine on this ludicrous bill, seems a waste of effort. We all know the drill. In cult like fashion no less sinister than David Koresh, the senate members are deprived of sleep, herded together for weeks at a time, disconnected from their families during this most sacred time of the year, threatened in unmentionable ways, to do the Master’s bidding. And for Nelson? Just another Judas for a bit more than 30 pieces.

As if the god or goddess did not do their best by providing one of the worst snow storms ever, that would not dissuade Reid from literally risking the members lives. We have now seen the ultimate power.

 While Nebraskans will get new Medicaid mandates covered by the federal government, most other states will sink under the weight of new unfunded mandates. Here’s how Nebraska’s Governor described the problem before Nelson struck his bargain:

“The State of Nebraska cannot afford an unfunded mandate and uncontrolled spending of this magnitude.”

Will Nebraskans be proud of Nelson’s tactics, or ashamed that Nelson has turned Nebraska into a beggar state relying on others to pay Nebraska’s way?

Will Nebraskans sit back in quiet satisfaction knowing that Nebraska has been saved from further unfunded mandates, while other states crumble, or feel like the proverbial person who lay down with dogs and got up with fleas?

Only time will tell.




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