The Freedom Project
has a lot of links that it has put together on pork given out in the health care bill. Senator Schumer claims
: “Every state got something [in the health care bill]," but it looks to me that Democrat Senators got a lot of pork. Senator Harry Reid "said that if a senator didn't get his state "something" in the health-care "reform" package, then that senator wasn't doing his or her job,"
though Reid apparently didn't get anything for Nevada. Note that this fits in with the pork given out in the Stimulus, where the money didn't go to states with the most unemployment or other problems, but tended
to go to more Democratic states. I have already put up links to many of these points over time, but it is still useful to put them all together in one place. If this doesn't convince the Democrats to have some transparency, I am not sure what will.
The Wall Street Journal calls it "special-interest discrimination" [Transfers to Longshoremen Union] that demonstrates "how all health-care choices will soon be made as Washington expands its political control over one-seventh of the U.S. economy." Here are some of the lowlights:
Pork greased reform's passage: "With the bill hanging in the balance, [Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE)] won a provision exempting his state from paying the usual share of costs for new Medicaid patients. The deal critics have dubbed the Cornhusker Kickback is expected to cost the federal government $100 million over 10 years." (Politico)
The $300 million Louisiana purchase: "Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, Louisiana Democrat, provided one of the last two votes needed to bring the government health care takeover to the Senate. She didn't even blush about selling her vote. 'I am not going to be defensive. And it's not a $100 million fix. It's a $300 million fix,' Mrs. Landrieu bragged on Nov. 21. This gross windfall will flood into her state through added benefits in the health care bill. This is government at its worst." (Washington Times)
Mmmmm, Pork: "Buried inside Senate Maj. Leader Harry Reid's 12/19 manager's amendment was a mysterious $100M for an unspecified 'Health Care Facility.' It was confirmed by ABC News' 'The Note' and AP that Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) inserted the following paragraph into the health care bill on behalf of his home state…" (National Journal)
Republicans Take Aim at Deal-Making: "Several states -- including Nebraska, Vermont and Massachusetts -- won deals for more generous federal payments under the Medicaid program. 'Who will pay for these special deals?' Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) asked his colleagues. 'The answer is simple -- every other state in the union.'" (Wall Street Journal)
Cost-control and taxes for some, but not for others: "White House budget director Peter Orszag has claimed that the bill's 40% excise tax on high-cost insurance plans is key to reducing health costs. Yet the Senate Majority Leader's new version specifically exempts 'individuals whose primary work is longshore work.' That would be the longshoremen's union, which has negotiated very costly insurance benefits. ... In other words, controlling insurance costs is enormously important, unless your very costly insurance is provided by an important Democratic constituency." (Wall Street Journal)
Concessions lawmakers won in the health bill: "SEN. BILL NELSON, D-FLA., pushed a provision he said will let about 800,000 Florida seniors enrolled in private Medicare Advantage plans keep their extra benefits. … Elsewhere, Medicare Advantage patients risk losing benefits because the private plans are a major target of planned cuts to Medicare." (Associated Press)
Senate's Deal: Compromise or Corruption?: "Democrats shrugged off questions about the one state deals - saying this is how you get to 60 votes.' That's what this legislation's all about - it's the art of compromise,' Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said. Republicans called it the art of corruption." (CBS News)
Whatever you call them – the Cornhusker Kickback, the Louisiana Purchase – these massive giveaways are simply wrong and emblematic of a bill that has been negotiated behind closed doors and away from the watchful eyes of the public and the media.
That's why House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) and Republicans are calling on the president and his allies to "scrap the bill" and start over with a better plan – like the Republican solution that would lower premiums and cut the deficit – and to start conducting major legislative negotiations out in the open.
Labels: Corruption, harryreid, healthcare, transparency