Medicaid 'kickback' deal causes controversy

Yet another provision of the health reform bill is causing quite a stir. This one would provide money to several states--most notably Nebraska--to help buoy the cost of Medicaid.

Under the so-called "Cornhusker Kickback," Nebraska, Vermont, Louisiana and Massachusetts would receive federal funds to help pay for a Medicaid expansion included in the proposed reform bill. Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska was the 60th vote to bring the reform bill to the full Senate. He insists, though, that he ultimately voted in favor of the bill to exclude a government-run insurance option and ensure that federal dollars won't go toward paying for abortions. 

"Those were the two dealmakers--or deal-breakers," Nelson said. 

That hasn't stopped critics of the deal from voicing their opinions. Attorneys general for 13 states plan to sue if Nebraska's funding is not removed. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told his state's lawmakers not to vote for reform unless they, too, can get a Medicaid deal. 

Nelson, though, said he would like to see similar deals made for every state, and if that can't happen, he wants states to have the option of not paying for the Medicaid expansion. "States that are concerned about Nebraska getting something that they're not getting should rest at ease," he said. 

For more:
- read this Associated Press article

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