Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Health Care Reform Winners

"Nebraska, with help from [Sen. Ben] Nelson, won a particularly generous arrangement under which the federal government would indefinitely pay the full cost of covering certain low-income people added to the Medicaid rolls under the bill."


Louisiana: "Back on November 21st, Senator Mary Landrieu provided the 60th vote for the Senate Democrats to cut off a GOP filibuster and start the debate on a healthcare reform bill. In exchange for that vote, the Democratic leadership offered her a $300 million ‘bribe’ in the form of additional Medicaid benefits for her home state of Louisiana and for other states ravaged by Hurricane Katrina."


Vermont: "At least partly alleviating the impact, [Sen. Patrick] Leahy this weekend won a $250 million increase in Medicaid payments to Vermont over six years as part of the Senate's health care bill."

WCAX. com (Vermont TV station)

Sundry States: "Another item in Mr. Reid’s package specifies the data that Medicare officials should use in adjusting payments to hospitals to reflect local wage levels. The officials can use certain new data only if it produces a higher index and therefore higher Medicare payments for these hospitals.

Senate Democrats said this provision would benefit hospitals in Connecticut and Michigan.

Mr. Reid’s proposal also provides additional money to several states to help pay for the expansion of Medicaid to cover many childless adults and parents who did not previously qualify.

Senate Democrats said Saturday that the cost would probably be less than $100 million over 10 years. But the Congressional Budget Office said Sunday that the cost of this provision, benefiting Massachusetts, Nebraska and Vermont, 'is approximately $1.2 billion over the 2010-2019 period.'”

"[David] Axelrod [Presidential Advisor] said the provisions benefiting specific states, like Nebraska, and favored constituencies were a natural part of the legislative process.

'Every senator uses whatever leverage they have to help their states,' Mr. Axelrod said on the CNN program “State of the Union.” 'That’s the way it has been. That’s the way it will always be.'”


Yes, all of the Senators mentioned above are Democrats. It's of course true that were Republicans running things the largess would flow differently. But, sausage making isn't pretty, regardless of the sausage brand.

Oh, and if you thought that big business is unhappy with those damned liberal Democrats:

"Here's a quick breakdown of major health insurance company stock performance from Oct. 27 to Friday's market close:

• Coventry Health Care, Inc. is up 31.6 percent;

• CIGNA Corp. is up 29.1 percent;

• Aetna Inc. is up 27.1 percent;

• WellPoint, Inc. is up 26.6 percent;

• UnitedHealth Group Inc. is up 20.5 percent;

• ... Humana Inc. is up 13.6 percent."

The major stock indexes are up 1 to 2 1/2% in the same period.



The Curmudgeon said...

OK... I understand Axelrod's point... but I'm not sure any of these state-specific handouts can survive a court challenge even if they make it into the version of the bill presented for Mr. Obama's autograph.

My reservations about the bill, whichever version is under consideration, are not mollified in the least by an increase in health insurer stock prices. In fact, this makes me more certain that this whole process is wrong, wrong, wrong: Sure, the health insurers allegedly face no government competition under the Senate version of the bill and if it trumps the House version in conference the private insurers can look forward to continued existence. But this mess of porridge is being sold to the American people on the idea that premiums will go down.

Obviously Wall Street thinks otherwise.

Not that Wall Street is necessarily bright -- the last couple of years have proved that -- but still.........

Sonja's Mom said...

I always knew there were "deals" being made in Washington but this takes it to a whole new level.

We are suppose to be a union - I take that to mean that everyone gets treated the same. The special treatment for certain states (mine included) is unconscionable. As a taxpayer I am outraged. I phoned my Senator's office but I doubt it will do any good.