Ben is ‘the guy’, just like Mary is ‘the girl’, that had the spotlight on them and the deals the senate leadership made to buy their votes were very public. But what about all those other senators standing in line rubbing their grubby mitts together and panting? Did you really think those were the only two kickbacks, and is this the best we can do as Americans to “reform” health care? If it is, then we have bigger problems than Barry and Mishy wasting our money on 24 ladies-in-waiting, and having pizza flown in, (but you already knew that). The hypocrisy and corruption of our elected lawmakers is now on complete display with 1000 watt halogens illuminating the payoffs – and they still keep doing it on a bill that the majority of Americans are melting their phones lines over. What does that say? I know I have said before that if America flips this congress, it will cut off Barry’s power to fundamentally transform this country into a second rate european socialist state.
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.
I am wondering how many laws this type of deal making for individual states under federal law is actually breaking. Maybe the very intelligent Monster readers can answer that question. Meanwhile, I predict they shove this through sometime on Monday or Tuesday and set up the powder keg called the Conference Committee between the Senate and the House because damn-it-all-to-hell, Nancy said she would have a Christmas Present for the American People!
The Senate healthcare reform bill is a zombie that keeps coming no matter what one does to obliterate it. The Medicare buy-in and the public option are both dead, and now the Senate Democratic Caucus has been summoned to the White House for, I’m sure, whining and hand-wringing. This bill is NOT DEAD yet, and I am sure these discussions will revolve around achieving passage so that the dems can get their liberal left foot in the door of 1/6th of the economy. I wonder how they will pass off Code Red happening right on the Capitol steps?
Senate Democrats late Monday said they were moving toward eliminating a Medicare expansion from the health care overhaul — the last vestige of a public insurance option — as their party leaders tried to appease moderates in pursuit of the 60 votes needed to pass President Obama’s top agenda item by Christmas.
“There’s a general consensus building, supported by the leadership, that there’s a lot of good things in this bill and in order to get those accomplished that particular proposal would be gone,” Sen. Evan Bayh, Indiana Democrat, said when leaving a closed-door meeting of Democrats.
Is there the possibility of buying insurance that a person takes with them when they change jobs, or the ability to purchase insurance across state lines? Is there anything in this bill that gets your employer out from between you and your doctor? How about tort reform? What about the rationing that is about to occur when 35 million people are added to the pool with only 836,000 doctors? What about the rationing for Grandma and Grandpa because $500 Billion is slated to be cut from Medicare? Are those the good things that Bayh is talking about, or is it that as an American citizen, if you wish to stay here in America, you MUST purchase health insurance mandated by an un-Constitutional law passed by a congress that is not upholding it’s oath? What about those representatives and senators that don’t have to use this health care program because they voted to opt out? Watch Sen. Orrin Hatch explain the un-Constitutionality of this bill and the loss of liberty because of it.
“Democrats aren’t going to let the American people down. We all stand shoulder to shoulder,” said Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who did not commit publicly to jettisoning the Medicare buy-in even though party members said it was inevitable.
Senate Democrats are scheduled to meet with Mr. Obama on Tuesday. In order to vote on Christmas Eve, Democratic leaders would have to get the necessary procedural measures in motion by the end of the week. White House officials were encouraging Mr. Reid to eliminate the Medicare plan. Democrats said they likely would be in session this weekend.
The White House is encouraging the elimination of the Medicare plan; can you say “foot in the door”? This little pow-wow today is all about the strategy of getting this passed by Christmas. This bill is not dead by any stretch of the imagination.
Removing the public insurance plan and the Medicare buy-in proposal, which liberals long championed as the best way to drive down health care costs, would eliminate the most controversial element of the health care debate.
How are health care costs going to be driven down now with the main delivery systems being axed, and are the senators going to be voting on it before the CBO score comes back next week?
Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121. Keep calling your senators, keep letting them know if they are really lucky, they will be retired during their next election cycle.