A month ago, I compiled Part I of the Demcare bribe list as Harry Reid rushed before Thanksgiving to secure his first cloture vote on the government health care takeover. (Quick re-cap: $300 million Louisiana Purchase for Landrieu; $300 million California doctor payments; AARP goodies; abortion and union lobby concessions.)
Here’s Part II of the Cash for Cloture bribe list all in one handy place (hat tip again to my friend ChristinaKB for the apt phrase she first coined on November 21 for the Demcare wheeling and dealing).
GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell alluded to all this backroom dealing on the floor early this morning before the cloture vote, but lamely refused to name names on the Senate floor.
Screw Senate collegiality. Let the sun shine in.
1. Sen. Ben Nelson’s “Cornhusker Kickback.” The CBO says the Nebraska Democrat sellout’s special Medicaid expansion subsidy will initially cost an estimated $100 million. The Hill reports that while Nelson credited Nebraska’s governor for giving him the idea to lobby for the government preference, Nebraska’s governor assailed the payoff:
“Nebraskans did not ask for a special deal, only a fair deal,” Heineman said in a statement Sunday. In response, Nelson fired off a letter Sunday to Heineman saying he’s prepared to ask that the provision covering Nebraska’s Medicaid share “be removed from the amendment in conference, if it is your desire.”
2. New England’s Special Syrup. Vermont and Massachusetts will get similar (though less generous) special treatment by the feds in covering Medicaid expansion costs. Combined with Nebraska’s tab, the exclusive clique’s payoffs will cost taxpayers $1.2 billion over 10 years. At least.
3. Corruptocrat Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd’s Christmas wish: Hospital helper. He’s plunging in the polls and in need of a little bacon to bring home.
A $100 million item for construction of a university hospital was inserted in the Senate health care bill at the request of Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., who faces a difficult re-election campaign, his office said Sunday night. The legislation leaves it up to the Health and Human Services Department to decide where the money should be spent, although spokesman Bryan DeAngelis said Dodd hopes to claim it for the University of Connecticut. The provision is included in a 383-page series of changes to the health care bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., outlined Saturday. …The one sought by Dodd provides $100 million for “a health care facility that provides research, inpatient tertiary care, or outpatient clinical services.” It must be affiliated with an academic health center at a public research university in the United States “that contains a State’s sole public academic medical and dental school.” The money can cover a maximum of 40 percent of the facility’s construction costs.
4. “Some insurers are more equal than others” tax exemption. The WSJ reports that nonprofit insurance companies will be exempt from a new, nearly $7 billion tax to pay for Demcare. Democrat Sens. Ben “Blank Check” Nelson and Carl Levin of Michigan pushed hard for the tax exemption, which will exempt insurers in their states.
5. The Frontier freebie. Several lucky states will see an increase in Medicare payments to hospitals and doctors, the NYT reports, — “where at least 50 percent of the counties are ‘frontier counties,’ defined as those having a population density less than six people per square mile. And which are the lucky states? The bill gives no clue. But the Congressional Budget Office has determined that Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming meet the criteria.”
6. More Democrat hospital bennies. Also via NYT: “Another provision of the bill would increase Medicare payments to certain “low-volume hospitals” treating limited numbers of Medicare patients. Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa and chairman of the Senate health committee, said this ‘important fix’ would help midsize Iowa hospitals in Grinnell, Keokuk and Spirit Lake. Another item in Mr. Reid’s package specifies the data that Medicare officials should use in adjusting payments to hospitals to reflect local wage levels. The officials can use certain new data only if it produces a higher index and therefore higher Medicare payments for these hospitals. Senate Democrats said this provision would benefit hospitals in Connecticut and Michigan.”
7. Bernie Sanders’ socialized medicine sop. He wanted a public option. Instead, he got socialized medicine satellite clinics funded to the tune of at least $10 billion. In his remarks early this morning before the cloture vote, he gloated about the funding as a crucial step toward universal care. Via the Burlington Free Press:
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., scored a big victory, too, with the inclusion in the amendment package of $10 billion to expand community health centers across the country — including at least two more in Vermont.
“We are talking about a revolution in primary care here,” Sanders said. Funding community health centers in an additional 10,000 communities would extend primary care to 25 million more Americans. The $10 billion, added at Sanders’ request, would also ensure there would be medical professionals to provide primary care by expanding the National Health Service Corps by an additional 20,000 slots. Doctors, dentists, nurses and other medical professionals who agree to work in areas where there are limited medical services get help paying off their school loans. The House version of the health care reform bill contains $14 billion for these initiatives. Sanders said he was hopeful the final amount, which will be hammered out in negotiations between the House and Senate, would be closer to $14 billion.
Vermont has 8 community health centers and 40 satellite offices. “New funding would make it likely centers could be opened in Addison and Bennington counties,” Sanders’ home state paper reports.
8. Fla.-Pa.-NY Protectionism. Via Politico: “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.”
And you know there are many more untold payoffs — paid by stealing your money — yet to be stuffed into this bureaucratic monstrosity.
To quote our Chicago Way President: “Don’t think we’re not keeping score, brother.”
Like the president says: Make your voice heard.
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