Hat Tip to Sweetness and Light:
Ben Nelson’s “Cornhusker Kickback,” as the GOP is calling it, got all the attention Saturday, but other senators lined up for deals as Majority Leader Harry Reid corralled the last few votes for a health reform package.
Nelson’s might be the most blatant – a deal carved out for a single state, a permanent exemption from the state share of Medicaid expansion for Nebraska, meaning federal taxpayers have to kick in an additional $45 million in the first decade.
But another Democratic holdout, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), took credit for $10 billion in new funding for community health centers, while denying it was a “sweetheart deal.” He was clearly more enthusiastic about a bill he said he couldn’t support just three days ago.
Nelson and Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) carved out an exemption for non-profit insurers in their states from a hefty excise tax. Similar insurers in the other 48 states will pay the tax.
Vermont and Massachusetts were given additional Medicaid funding, another plus for Sanders and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Three states – Pennsylvania, New York and Florida – all won protections for their Medicare Advantage beneficiaries at a time when the program is facing cuts nationwide.
All of this came on top of a $300 million increase for Medicaid in Louisiana, designed to win the vote of Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu.
Under pressure from the White House to get a deal done by Christmas, Reid was unapologetic. He argued that, by definition, legislating means deal making and defended the special treatment for Nelson’s home state of Nebraska.
“You’ll find a number of states that are treated differently than other states. That’s what legislating is all about. It’s compromise,” he said. (No, it’s bribery)
……But Nelson’s deal could be a pittance compared to where the Nebraska compromise might ultimately lead – to 49 other states demanding that the feds pick up their share of health reform’s new Medicaid burden when it kicks in during 2017…
Nelson and Levin also pushed a provision that exempts non-profit insurers in Nebraska and Michigan from an annual multi-billion dollar excise tax on insurance companies.
Not surprisingly, both states are home to non-profit insurers who control a high-percentage of the industry’s profits. In Michigan, non-profit insurers control 76 percent of the industry’s profits – one of the highest percentages in the nation – while Nebraska non-profits control 46 percent of their state’s profits…
Graft is still the number one output in Washington, D.C.
Reid and the gang of Dem thugs have embezzled money from the American taxpayers; looting the Treasury for political favors in support of a catastrophic ObamaCare system, and government takeovers of private industry that will result in trillions of dollars added to the national deficit.
Congratulations to the 52%ers. Your socialist pipe dream is a fucking nightmare.