Medicaid deals threaten healthcare legislative process

Back-room deals or political horse-trading are standard in Washington, but in the current political environment, as some of those deals become public, the ultimate casualty may be healthcare reform.

Take a look at two senators who had side deals for their states: Nebraska's Sen. Ben Nelson, a Democrat, negotiated an everlasting Medicaid deal for his state. Louisiana's Mary Landrieu, also a Democrat with the support of Louisiana Republicans and Democrats, negotiated, a one-time deal for Medicaid reimbursement for her state.

Nelson ultimately backed away from his deal; Landrieu, however, has not. She insists the $300 million Medicaid boost--supported by Louisiana lawmakers because the uptick in income in post-Hurricane Katrina meant that the state would receive less Medicaid support now or in the short-term future--also is supported by the federal administration.

The senator's stance has raised eyebrows and ire in the pundit community at a time when this is--at the least--another distraction from potential healthcare reform and--at most--a confirmation by Americans that there are too many deals and not enough legislating for the good of the country.

President Obama, in public comments and in his State of the Union address, made mention of messy backroom deals, and said that he could understand how that frustrates Americans. He continues to press congressional leaders to move the stalled healthcare legislation forward.

To learn more:
- read the Washington Post article