Critical Condition

‘Majority Leader Protects Home State’

New York Times:

The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, has secured a special deal protecting his state against the costs of expanding Medicaid under one of the major health care bills moving through Congress.

Senator Harry Reid has secured changes that protect his state from Medicaid increases.

Mr. Reid, a Democrat, complained about the impact on Nevada when the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, unveiled his bill on Sept. 16.

Now Mr. Baucus has modified the bill to spare Nevada and three other states, and Mr. Reid, who faces a potentially difficult race for re-election next year, is taking credit for getting a “major increase” in federal money for his state.

The Senate bill, like a companion measure in the House, would expand Medicaid to cover childless adults, parents and other people with incomes less than 133 percent of the poverty level, or $29,327 for a family of four. The federal government would pay most of the new costs — anywhere from 77 percent to 95 percent, with a higher share in poorer states, in the first five years.

Under Mr. Baucus’s original proposal, the federal government would have paid 87 percent of the new costs in Nevada. Under the modified version, the federal government would pay 100 percent of the new costs for the first five years. Severe financial problems have prompted Nevada and other states to cut spending and furlough workers, and some states have even considered releasing prison inmates to save money.

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