Nelson Calls For Expansion Of Nebraska Medicaid Deal To All States

"Sen. Ben Nelson said Thursday he has asked Democratic leadership to extend to all states the extra Medicaid funding promised to Nebraska in the health care reform bill," The Associated Press reports. "The Democrat wouldn't say who he has spoken to regarding the so-called 'Cornhusker Kickback' but that he would see to it that Nebraska doesn't get a special deal." Nelson said if he can't get similar treatment for every state, "he wants states to be freed from paying the cost of Medicaid expansion. That could mean eliminating the provision, finding another way to pay for it or allowing states to opt out" (Ross, 1/7).

Roll Call: "Nelson has spent the holiday recess trying to explain the provision, even launching a statewide television ad buy to push back against the criticism. … Some states, nervous about their own budget problems, have protested the expansion. In response, Senators who drafted the bill inserted a provision allowing that the federal government subsidize each state's portion of the Medicaid expansion through 2017" (Drucker, 1/7).

CongressDaily: "Nelson was concerned that Nebraska could not afford to foot part of the bill, as states do under Medicaid, to pay for a mandated expansion of the program to those earning 133 percent of the federal poverty level. ... 'I've been in serious discussions with Senate leaders and others to secure changes in the bill to treat all states equally,' Nelson said. 'At the end of the day, whatever Nebraska gets will apply to all states'" (Edney, 1/7).

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