Saturday, December 19, 2009

They Have the Votes - Nelson Had a Price

From the Washington Post:
The last best hope to prevent Democrats from passing this train wreck, Senator Nelson, discovered his vote could be bought after all:

"We're there," said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), as he headed into a special meeting to outline the deal.

Democratic leaders spent days trying to hammer out a deal with Nelson, and worked late Friday night with him on abortion coverage language that had proved the major stumbling block. Nelson also secured other favors for his home state.

Under the new abortion provisions, states can opt out of allowing plans to cover abortion in insurance exchanges the bill would set up to serve individuals who don't have employer coverage. Plus, enrollees in plans that do cover abortion procedures would pay for the coverage with separate checks - one for abortion, one for rest of health-care services.

Nelson secured full federal funding for his state to expand Medicaid coverage to all individuals below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. Other states must pay a small portion of the additional cost. He won concessions for qualifying nonprofit insurers and for Medigap providers from a new insurance tax. He also was able to roll back cuts to health savings accounts.
The Other McCain notes this may be the first time the term "30 pieces of silver" appears in federal legislation.  How true.  Nelson received a letter earlier in the week from the Governor of Nebraska asking Nelson not to vote for the bill as the state was unable to afford its portion of the Medicaid expansion in coverage.  Nelson's pretense he was holding out for stricter language on abortion appears to have been nothing more than elaborate kabuki waiting for the desperate Democrats to come up what will likely be hundreds of millions for his state.  As Ed Morrissey notes:
After that, Nebraskans get as screwed as the rest of the country.
Here is the Managers Amendment:
Managers Amendment height="500" width="100%" > value="">            

CSpan 2 is currently covering a full reading of the amendment which is expected to take until 3 PM this afternoon. It's looks as though there is not much left in the arsenal to stop this awful legislation from being passed out of the Senate on Christmas eve of all days. As Sean Trende writes in "Real Clear Politics" this bill is political suicide for the Democrats though they continue to delude themselves they have found their Holy Grail:
I don't think they're close to finding their Grail. I think the better analogy is probably that they're close to their Moby Dick. And we all know what happens to Captain Ahab once he finally harpoons his white whale.

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