Saturday, December 26, 2009

Healthcare Reform- Demonstration of Legislators For Sale

Pork, Pork, Pork. Amid the widely described deals given to specific states in the healthcare reform bill Attorney Generals from several states are probing whether those deals were constitutional. Harry Reid has tried his hand at damage control over the sweetheart deals/bribes contained in the measure needed to secure 60 votes but failed miserably.

Thanks to the Gateway Pundit here is a sampling of the bribery wholly embraced by Democratic Senators:

** Eliminating or reducing the Medicaid unfunded mandate on Nebraska, Vermont, and Massachusetts (starting on page 96, line 9)
** Exempting certain health insurance companies in Nebraska and Michigan from taxes and fees (starting on page 367, line 6)
** Providing automatic Medicare coverage for anyone living in Libby, Montana (starting on page 194 – section 10323)
** Earmarking $100 million for a “Health Care Facility” reportedly in Connecticut (starting on page 328)
** Giving special treatment to Hawaii’s Disproportionate Share Hospitals (starting on page 101, line 6)
** Boosting reimbursement rates for certain hospitals in Michigan and Connecticut (starting on page 174 – section 10317)
** Mandating special treatment for hospitals in “Frontier” States like Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wyoming (starting on page 208 — Sec 10324)

Below are highlights of the new special deals or earmarks bartered away to win Senate votes:

Ø The bill contains unfunded mandates to states through the expansion of Medicaid but this time with new special treatment for the states of Nebraska, Vermont, and Massachusetts. These states will receive Federal Matching Assistance Percentages (FMAP) bonuses such that:

1. Nebraska will receive 100% FMAP for newly eligibles indefinitely, making it the only state where the federal government will pay for all new enrollees. CBO estimated the cost to the federal government (additional funds to Nebraska) would be $100 million, which may look small compared to the other deals negotiated, yet over the long-term will cost far more, since funding continues indefinitely.

2. Vermont will receive a 2.2% FMAP increase for 6 years for their entire program, thus receiving an additional $600 million over ten years.

3. Massachusetts will receive a 0.5% FMAP increase for three years for the entire program, thus receiving an additional $500 million over ten years.

Ø Despite $120 billion in Medicare Advantage cuts, the Manager’s Amendment found a way for Florida residents, as well as some individuals in Pennsylvania and New York, and potentially Oregon, to be grandfathered out of receiving the cuts.

Ø Dorgan and Conrad’s “protections for frontier states” provision would, starting in 2011, establish a 1.0 hospital wage index and geographic practice expense floors for hospitals and physicians located in states where at least 50% of the counties in the state are “frontier”. Not surprisingly, states that qualify and benefit from the provision are Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.

Was Your Democrat Senator Too Stupid To Get a Bribe? Start calling Casey and Specter to find out why Pennsylvania isn't special? While you're at it ask Casey how he voted yes on this bill with his pro-life stance. Guess everything is for sale. Rahm Emanuel's work at his finest.

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