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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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