Fox News reporter Shannon Bream said that during Supreme Court deliberations on the health care reform law, "some of the different justices talked about the Cornhusker Kickback and other things that were tucked into the law so that votes would be gotten along the way." In fact, the provision in question, which would have provided extra Medicaid funding for Nebraska, was removed and is not part of the health care reform law.
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Bream: "Cornhusker Kickback" Was "Tucked Into The Law" To Secure Votes
Bream: "Some Of The Justices Talked About The Cornhusker Kickback And Other Things That Were Tucked Into The Law." From Fox News' On the Record with Greta Van Susteren:
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN (host): Fox News' Shannon Bream was inside the Supreme Court hearing today. She joins us. And Shannon, I probably should hold up at least the 2,700 pages of the bill that apparently nobody's read. Nobody read it before it was voted on, and now nobody's read it before the decision is going to be made about whether it's constitutional. But anyway, what happened today?
BREAM: It's quite a workout there. By the way, Justice Breyer did have sections of the law with him today, and he acknowledged in open court, Hey, I haven't read this whole thing. But he talked about the fact that if you shoot down the mandate, how do you decide what parts of the law live? And he talked about the fact that there are coequal branches of government. Do I jump in and do Congress' job, telling them which pieces I'm going to going to keep and not keep? And there was discussion in the court as well that there were deals made for some of the votes, he said -- you know, some of the different justices talked about the Cornhusker Kickback and other things that were tucked into the law so that votes would be gotten along the way. And they -- several of them expressed concern: How do we undo all of that? Is that our job? [Fox News, On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, 3/28/12]
Medicaid Provision For Nebraska Was Not Part Of Final Law
AP: "Cornhusker Kickback Gets The Boot In Health Bill." From a March 2010 Associated Press article headlined "Cornhusker Kickback gets the boot in health bill":
Bye bye, Cornhusker Kickback. Hello, special treatment for Tennessee and North Dakota.
Democrats unveiling revisions Thursday to their health care overhaul bill decided to kill the extra $100 million in Medicaid funds for Nebraska that has become a symbol of backdoor deal making.
But the 153 pages of changes to the massive health care package include extra money for hospitals in Tennessee that serve large numbers of low-income patients. And though the bill would revamp the nation's student loan system to make the government the only lender, one bank -- the state-owned Bank of North Dakota -- would be allowed to continue making student loans.
That provision ended up rubbing Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., the wrong way. Fearing it would become a target by Republicans in what he said is "an overly heated partisan environment," he asked the House late Thursday to remove it from the legislation. [Associated Press, 3/18/10]
CNN: Obama Signed "Fixes" Bill That Eliminated NE Medicaid Provision. From a March 2010 CNN.com article headlined "Obama signs health care 'fixes' bill":
Congress initially appeared poised to pass a compromise reform bill in January or February, shortly after both the House and Senate approved their own versions of the measure. However, the political landscape shifted in January when Republican Scott Brown won a special election in Massachusetts to fill the Senate seat formerly held by Democrat Ted Kennedy, the longtime champion of health care reform, who died last year.
Brown's victory cost Senate Democrats the 60-seat majority they needed to overcome a Republican filibuster against a compromise health care bill. In response, Democrats devised a two-bill process in which the House passed the Senate version unchanged, making it law when signed last week by Obama, and also passed the accompanying "fixes" bill to change provisions in the Senate legislation that some House members opposed.
The "fixes" bill was then proposed under reconciliation rules in the Senate that apply to bills involving the budget. Such bills need only a simple majority of 51 votes to pass.
Specific provisions in the "fixes" bill include:
- Eliminating the "Cornhusker Kickback," which gave Nebraska a special exemption from all new Medicaid expenses. The federal government will instead assist every state by picking up 100 percent of the costs of expanded Medicaid coverage between 2014 and 2016, and 90 percent starting in 2020. [CNN.com, 3/31/10]
Lincoln Journal Star: NE Sen. Nelson "Asked Reid To Remove The Permanent Medicaid Exemption From The Legislation." From a December Lincoln Journal Star article:
With Nelson as a key holdout vote on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made a deal with him to allegedly secure his vote, giving the Democrats the 60 votes needed to kill a Republican filibuster.
The deal included language giving Nebraska 100 percent federal funding of the Medicaid expansion indefinitely. It also included language allowing states to restrict funding for abortions under certain circumstances.
But the deal drew so much fire from critics -- who said it amounted to Nelson selling his vote -- that he asked Reid to remove the permanent Medicaid exemption from the legislation.
"To remove any attempts at continued distortion or miscommunication on this point ... I ask that the Nebraska Medicaid exemption be removed and that all states receive equal treatment under the Medicaid expansion," Nelson said in a letter to Reid. [Lincoln Journal Star, 12/27/11]