Nelson not the only senator to accept health care reform bribe
Politico's Chris Frates has a list of bribes from Harry Reid to senators in order to get their vote for health care reform and it shows one thing very clearly; it's easy to bribe someone when you're using other people's money:
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 doubt Harry and Nancy aren't done dealing yet, as the bill moves on to a House-Senate conference. And given the ease with which Reid was able to bribe his fellow senators just by giving them more of our tax dollars, one would imagine House members lining up to get their goodies too.
To quote long ago budget director David Stockman who watched something similar happen during the great tax cut debate in 1981, "The hogs were really feeding." The Democrats seem to have perfected the fattening process in the intervening years.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky