Ben Nelson Saves the Reid Bill

The health reform fight is far from over. But the bill has gained a crucial ally, at least for now. From the New York Times account:

The amendment also includes a special extension solely for Nebraska: increased federal contributions to the cost of an expansion of Medicaid, the state-federal insurance program for the poor.

The Kaiser Family Foundation, a wonderful source for news and information on health coverage in the United States, has a useful chart on poverty rates in the states as of 2008. Nebraska is a relatively low-poverty state, with a poverty rate of 10.6 percent of households. Fifteen other states have lower poverty rates while thirty-five have higher poverty rates. Yet it seems that Nebraska, by virtue of its impressively stubborn Democratic senator, will receive unusually generous treatment.

Interestingly, only 26 percent of Nebraska children live in single-parent families, which is below the national rate of 32 percent. The poverty rate for adults with children in Nebraska is 11 percent, which places the state at seventeenth in the nation.

Reihan Salam — Reihan Salam is executive editor of National Review and a National Review Institute policy fellow.

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