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Reid Bought 60 Votes With Our Money

From the Politico:

Payoffs for states get Harry Reid to 60 votes

By: Chris Frates
December 19, 2009

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.

It was Nelson who proved that he who plays hardest to get, gets the most.

He forced Reid to redraft the bill’s restrictions on federal funding of abortion. And while most insiders were focused on that deal, Nelson was quietly ensuring that his state would never have to pay for the Medicaid expansion being written into the bill – an agreement that had been in the works for weeks.

Medicaid is usually paid for with a mix of federal and state funding, but Nelson’s carve out means that any Medicaid beneficiaries who join the program under the bill will be fully paid for by the federal government…

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…

Republicans, meanwhile, expressed outrage at the wheeling and dealing, as if their party had never cut a legislative deal in its 150-year history.

“This bill is a monstrosity, a 2,100-page monstrosity full of special deals for people who are willing to vote for it,” said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. “And they’re playing these kind of games with the nation’s health care. This is an outrage.” …

Republican Sen. Mike Enzi accused Democratic leaders of favoring Medicare Advantage beneficiaries in Pennsylvania, New York and Florida at the expense of seniors in other parts of the country.

“The Democrats are playing ‘Let’s make a deal’ with trillions of your hard-earned tax dollars. You and all the American people should know that the majority leader is buying his votes with your money,” said Enzi (R-Wyo.) “The Reid bill gives sweetheart deals to a few states and the rest of the country will foot the bill. Making unfair deals like this is the wrong way to legislate and the American people know it.” …

And the scandal of this bill is goes beyond these preposterous deals.

After all, what does the healthcare reform really boil down to now that everything has been stripped out?

It seems that all is left now is that we will be forced to buy health insurance.

Do wee really need to spend $1.2 trillion dollars to force people to buy insurance?

Of course what it really proves is that it is all about redistributing wealth, and nothing about healthcare reform.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, December 20th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “Reid Bought 60 Votes With Our Money”

  1. Liberals Demise says:

    “WE” don’t have any money!
    Hairy Dingleberry bought the vote with the unborn generations money and if abortion goes through, well ……hell with it!!!!!
    The country was just flushed down the shiiter without a courtesy flush.

  2. NoNeoCommies says:

    As much as I hate hearing people urge boycotts to change things, I think it is time to strangle the states that send these money grubbing jerks to Washington. They they continue to send people like Ted Kennedy back to damage the whole of the country in exchange for a quick buck at home. If they are going to grab money out of our pockets to pay for something we don’t want and exempt themselves at the same time, then they can do without our commerce.

  3. LIZZEE says:


  4. Confucius says:

    I think the states that got screwed should issue arrest warrants for anyone from Nebraska, Louisiana, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida.

    The charges? Theft and prostitution.

  5. Loon says:

    To bad we are so ignorant about what words mean
    Main Entry: leg·is·la·tion
    Pronunciation: \ˌle-jəs-ˈlā-shən\
    Function: noun
    Date: 1644
    1 : the action of legislating; specifically : the exercise of the power
    Old Harry knows and can abuse it
    I lived in Nevada when this corrupt prostute was running for state legislature

  6. tranquil.night says:

    So much time, effort, and money wasted just for our government to manipulate and screw achievers. Then all the time, effort and money dedicated to just trying to figure out the truth of what they are doing.

    Imagine where we’d be if we could trust competent and honest representatives?

    What a seductive dream.

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