From C.L. Gray, a Hickory doctor and president of Physicians for Reform:
Everyone knows the score. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., used taxpayer dollars to buy a health care bill that Washington can't sell - and we have yet to see the payoffs needed to get the bill though conference with the House. Here are some of the most flagrant pay-for-passage deals reported so far:
$100 million to Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., to permanently exempt Nebraska from new mandated Medicaid costs.
$3.5 billion to Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., to protect his seniors from cuts to Medicare Advantage.
$1.1 billion to subsidize new Medicaid mandates in Vermont and Massachusetts.
$300 million to Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., in a direct pay-for-passage deal.
$100 million to Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., to build a hospital in Connecticut.
However, in spite of the massive money Washington is throwing at the legislation to move it forward, Americans aren't buying it. And the longer this unseemly process drags on, the more their anger smolders.
Public opposition reached an all-time high in the Dec. 30 Rasmussen poll. A whopping 58 percent of the public opposed the current health care plan. On closer inspection it was even worse. Those who strongly opposed the bill (46 percent) outnumbered those who strongly favored it (19 percent) by more than a two-to-one margin.
No one understands this deluge of public dissatisfaction better than Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson. In a hypothetical matchup Nelson now trails by 30 points in a state he won with 64 percent of the vote. Why? Nebraskans despise the possibly unconstitutional deal he struck when he sold his 60th vote. Nebraskans have more pride than to force other states to pay its ballooning Medicaid tab. And the tab that states are being asked to pick up is substantial.
States left holding the Medicaid bag
Governors from the two largest Democratic states, New York and California, just announced the new Medicaid mandates in the Senate health care bill will likely bankrupt their states. Facing a $6.8 billion deficit, the new mandate will burden New Yorkers with another $1 billion annual obligation. Facing a $20.7 billion deficit, the California taxpayers will need to shell out an additional $3 billion or more every year.
Americans with common sense understand what is going on. They understand our government cannot add 30 million people to the health care system without someone, somewhere footing the bill. The Democratic leadership repeatedly touts "Health care reform will cut the federal deficit by $132 billion!" as if this money appears out of nowhere. But each time they do, they lose credibility and their support tumbles even further in the polls.
Mandating that states expand Medicaid coverage will make the federal deficit look better. But, in the end, we the people still have to pay. So who's buying this monstrosity? No one. Washington, this is one pitch you just can't sell.