Critical Condition

59 Votes, 59 Deals

Sen. Ben Nelson’s (D., Neb.) Cornhusker Kickback became the poster child for inside-Washington horse-trading in the Obamacare saga, and sparked a constituent backlash that forced Nelson to publicly withdraw the provision. But the vast majority of kickbacks and carve-outs that went into the health-care reform sausage remain very much intact.

The Louisiana Purchase, the Labor Loophole, a host of single-state funding fixes, all still on the table as Democrats look for a way to squeeze the health-care bill through. In Washington, the definition of pork is money for someone else’s district:

“It is very clear from the process that took place in the final days of the bill that Americans are disturbed about the process,” said Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). “I believe it would be important for us to take out the egregious items.”

Does that mean he might forfeit the money for Massachusetts?

Not at all. Kerry argued the funding was completely legitimate because Massachusetts has already used significant state resources to extend benefits beyond what the current federal Medicaid rules require.

“I don’t think adjusting for Medicaid costs for states that have already done some things is inappropriate,” Kerry said. “I’m not for a single-state fix. I’m for every state in the country that has taken action, to have that reflected somehow, and that should be part of the fix.”

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