Friday, November 20, 2009

What a yes vote in the Senate costs these days

ABC reveals how much Mary Landrieu seems willing to sell her vote for the Reid health bill. The going rate seems to be $100 million. In Reid's view, that's cheap at the price, especially since it's all just coming out of the taxpayers' pockets.
What does it take to get a wavering senator to vote for health care reform?

Here’s a case study.

On page 432 of the Reid bill, there is a section increasing federal Medicaid subsidies for “certain states recovering from a major disaster.”

The section spends two pages defining which “states” would qualify, saying, among other things, that it would be states that “during the preceding 7 fiscal years” have been declared a “major disaster area.”

I am told the section applies to exactly one state: Louisiana, the home of moderate Democrat Mary Landrieu, who has been playing hard to get on the health care bill.

In other words, the bill spends two pages describing would could be written with a single world: Louisiana. (This may also help explain why the bill is long.)

Senator Harry Reid, who drafted the bill, cannot pass it without the support of Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu.

How much does it cost? According to the Congressional Budget Office: $100 million.
I wonder if the rest of Louisianans who oppose the bill will think that she negotiated a good deal for her vote.

The funny thing is that, in the old days, they could insert these couple of pages into a big bill and be confident that no one would figure it out, at least until it was too late. In these days of the internet, they can't hide things like this anymore.