Nelson's Compromise Pays Off for Nebraska

Feds will pick up state's costs for Medicaid expansion
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 19, 2009 4:42 PM CST
Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., speaks with reporters Saturday.   (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)
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(Newser) – It pays to be stubborn sometimes. In addition to stricter language on abortion coverage in the health care bill, Ben Nelson wrung a concession from Harry Reid and company that will pay dividends for his home state of Nebraska. The federal government will pick up the state's cost for the bill's expansion of Medicaid, reports Time. "That’s what legislation’s all about," explained Reid. "Compromise.”

It's more like highway robbery, say GOP critics. “You’ve got to compliment Ben Nelson for playing The Price Is Right," said North Carolina's Richard Burr. The message to people in other states is that "you're going to pay taxes to make sure that Nebraskans don’t have to pay any portion of the Medicaid expansion.” Senate aides figure the deal will cost less than $100 million, and five other states got similar treatment, notes the Wall Street Journal.

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