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Posted by on Dec 23, 2009 in Politics | 7 comments

How Sweet Is Nebraska’s Sweetheart Deal?

Lindsay Graham’s appearing everywhere he can complaining about Nebraska’s sweetheart deal, here on this evening’s All Things Considered:

“It’s OK for a senator from any state to advocate for their state. Once the federal government puts money on the table in an appropriate fashion, it’s OK to go get your fair share,” Graham said.

“What I don’t think is OK is for a senator to basically agree to a bill that increases taxes on 49 states and say, ‘I will vote for the bill if you exempt my state,’ ” he said. “That’s crossing the line.”

Graham questioned the constitutionality of such a move and said other states “can’t afford to bear” the burden for more Medicaid coverage in Nebraska.

Matthew Yglesias suggests the Nebraska deal’s not all that:

Nelson’s concession is totally politically unsustainable. The extra federal bucks for Nebraska aren’t scheduled to arrive until 2016. That gives congress tons of time to repeal Nebraska’s special treatment. Given Nelson’s pivotal role in the great health care debate of 2009-2010 he was in a position to demand whatever he wanted. But he can’t stay in that position consistently for the next seven years. There’s no constituency whatsoever for this special Nebraska exemption. The only real question becomes whether we’ll “level down” by having Nebraska treated the same way other states are treated by the bill, or whether we’ll “level up” by having the federal government pick up a larger share of the tab for the other 49 states.

BTW, Lindsay made no mention of that 30 percent African-American population on Medicaid in South Carolina in that NPR interview. Maybe someone finally got word to him.

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  • Leonidas

    BTW, Lindsay made no mention of that 30 percent African-American population on Medicaid in South Carolina in that NPR interview. Maybe someone finally got word to him.

    Yeah that was a boneheaded thing to add to otherwise excellent points, he shouldn’t have tried to appeal to the other members of Congress by citing how much it helps black people. Some might have been receptive to that line of thinking,like the Congressional Black Caucus but thats no excuse to use it.

  • DLS

    ” he shouldn’t have tried to appeal to the other members of Congress by citing how much it helps black people”

    But if he had been advised to say it and he declined, wouldn’t the far Left be using him as another white-hooded GOP example of the day?

  • DLS

    Probably lost by now is an example of an incrementalist strategy I had identified for the Demmies in previous months, as a way for them to increase federal health care control, _and_ to spend stimulus money for something that would pay off (for them) long-term. Had the Congre-Dems not been in such HUA mode of operation all year, they could have had the federal government simply take over, not only legislatively or “regulationally” but also financially, all of Medicaid, and (as I also said) absorbed Medicaid into Medicare. (This would have been the big other-than-ordinary-taxpayers group to target rather than children or the much less effective 55-to-65 group that was briefly revisited, in other words.) The Dems could even have used the poor economy and rationale for assisting the states as an excuse to tell everyone, with a straight face, that this would be a “stimulus” measure and even (with still straight face) a “temporary” measure.

    Instead, they have failed, time after time, and can do no better than offer piecemeal single-state bribes to induce one or two reluctant Dems to join the majority and vote for the current legislation.

  • adelinesdad

    So, we shouldn’t worry about a bad part of the legislation (included to buy a vote) because it’s likely to be repealed before taking effect? That argument seems to me to be flawed on the face of it, but if we’re going to accept that, then should we accept that CBO’s deficit estimates that are also based on parts of the bill that are even more likely to be changed? (I’m talking about slashing Medicare reimbursements, in case it wasn’t obvious, but also the excise tax is very likely to be modified once it starts eating larger and larger chunks of people’s benefits because of the way the threshold is indexed)

  • $199537

    Nelson’s concession is totally politically unsustainable. The extra federal bucks for Nebraska aren’t scheduled to arrive until 2016. That gives congress tons of time to repeal Nebraska’s special treatment.

    Supporting the concessions to Nelson while also counting on them being reversed begs the question why you support them in the first place. What Yglesias is saying is that dishonesty is acceptable as long as it gets the bill passed.

  • DLS

    “So, we shouldn’t worry about a bad part of the legislation (included to buy a vote) because it’s likely to be repealed before taking effect?”

    As if anybody actually believes that bad legislation that has support is ever going to be repealed, or that the incrementalist and precedent ratchet ever gets moved backwards, too, as a rule.

    Also, experience says that politicians in other states will want similarly bad legislation for themselves.

    (“Parity! Fairness! Equality!” [chuckle])

  • Silhouette

    ARTICLE I SECTION 8

    “The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States”
    **********
    I repeat:

    “..but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be U-N-I-F-O-R-M throught the United States”

    Dictionary dot com says:

    “Duties”:> “9. a payment, service, etc., imposed and enforceable by law or custom”

    If Nebraska is somehow made preferentially exempt from duties as to ANY federal system of healthcare, be it subsidies and so on, it is UNCONSTITUTIONAL for it to be set aside by Congress as a state exempt from duties to said.

    Therefore anyone who cut this deal with Nebraska better review this clause because the Supreme Court certainly will, to their demise..

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