All of the kickbacks listed below will be funded by the taxpayers of the United States.
Cornhusker Kickback:In order to secure the vote of Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), the legislation states that Nebraska would be the only state to have the full amount of its increased Medicaid costs paid for by the federal government.
The Louisiana Purchase:In order to secure the vote of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) the Senate bill provides $300 million in extra Medicaid funding for any state in which every county has been declared a disaster area.Every county in Louisiana was declared a Federal Disaster area following Hurricane Katrina.
Gator Aid:At the request of Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fl), the Senate bill includes a formula for protecting certain Medicare Advantage enrollees from billions in cuts.The formula would only apply to five states, but 800,000 of Florida’s one million Medicare Advantage users would be exempt from cuts.
Water for Votes: In a surprising coincidence of timing, on March 17, 2010, the Department of Interior (DOI) announced that they were allowing new water supplies to flow through the Central Valley Project in California.The news was not scheduled to be released for at least two weeks, but the DOI explained that they decided to release the news early at the behest of Congressmen Costa and Cordoza. The Department of Interior stated: “Typically, Reclamation would release the March allocation update around March 22nd, but moved up the announcement at the urging of Senators Feinstein and Boxer, and Congressmen Costa and Cardoza.”
New England Handouts:According to CBO, the Senate bill now contains about $600 million in extra Medicaid cash to Vermont, and about $500 million in additional money for Medicaid to Massachusetts, making these three states the only to receive such funding.
The Dodd Clinic:Section 10502(a) of the bill provides $100 million for construction at an unnamed “health care facility” affiliated with an academic health center at a public research university in a state with only one public academic medical and dental school.Connecticut is the only state that fits this description.Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) later sent a press release saying that:”These provisions will bring millions of dollars to the state so that Connecticut’s residents can receive quality, affordable health care.”
Medicare Expansion:A provision slipped into the Senate bill by Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-MT), Section 1881A(b)(2), specifically expands Medicare coverage for individuals who reside “in or around the geographic area subject to an emergency declaration made as of June 17, 2009.”This description can only refer to Libby, Montana which was has suffered from a major asbestos contamination.
Tax Exemptions for “Profiteering” Insurers:The Senate bill exempts Michigan Blue Cross and Blue Shield from the new taxes levied on health insurers.
Billions in Payouts to Insurance Companies:The CBO stated Section 1412(c) provides $436 billion in federal subsidies to insurance companies to provide health care in the exchange.