In response to criticism from his constituents, the media, and several attorneys general, Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) has requested Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) remove a controversial provision from the health care legislation which would have required federal taxpayers to fund an expanded portion of Nebraska’s Medicaid costs.
The so-called Cornhusker Kickback, which Nelson received in exchange for becoming the final, key vote for the Senate version of President Obama’s health care package, prompted strongly negative responses even after Nelson paid for a television ad campaign supporting his step and offered to expand the provision to cover other states.
According to Ed Haislmaier, a health policy expert at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC, the provision would have required an exclusive exception for Nebraska in the Senate health care bill which protects Nebraska, but not other states, from an estimated $100 million in new Medicaid costs.
“Both the Senate and House versions of the health care bill would expand Medicaid coverage for either the first two or first three calendar years depending on which version is enacted, if any,” Haislmaier said. “The federal government would pay for some of the costs, and states would have to pay some share of the additional costs. However, what happened in the case of Nebraska is its extra cost after the first couple of years will be paid by the federal government—meaning the national taxpayers.
Read the full story at Pressure – by Thomas Cheplick.