The AP characterized the senators walking away with millions and billions of your tax money and mine, in exchange for a vote for health care, as ‘winners.’ That makes us the losers.
Here’s a look at some of the
concessions lawmakers and interest groups won in the latest version of
the Senate’s health care overhaul bill:
SEN. BEN NELSON, D-NEB.,
who provided the critical 60th vote that Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid needed, received numerous benefits for Nebraska, along with
tighter curbs on abortion.
SEN. MAX BAUCUS, D-MONT.,
put in a provision to help the 2,900 residents of Libby, Mont., many of
whom have asbestos-related illnesses from a now-defunct mineral mine.
The Baucus provision never mentions Libby by name.
SEN. CHRISTOPHER DODD, D-CONN., added an item making $100 million
available for construction of a hospital at a public university. Dodd
says more than a dozen sites could be eligible, but he hopes the
University of Connecticut will be the beneficiary.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY, D-VT.,
negotiated $600 million in additional Medicaid benefits for his state over 10 years.
SEN. MARY LANDRIEU, D-LA., withheld her support from the
legislation until she was able to procure Medicaid help from the
federal government worth at least $100 million in 2011.
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, I-VT.,
held out on backing the bill until Reid, D-Nev., agreed to a $10 billion increase in support for community health centers.
SEN. BILL NELSON, D-FLA.,
pushed a provision he said will let about 800,000 Florida seniors enrolled in private MedicareAdvantage plans keep their extra benefits. It also helps seniors in a handful of other states. Elsewhere, Medicare Advantage patients risk losing benefits because the private plans are a major target of planned cuts to Medicare.
Doctors and hospitals in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and
Wyoming, will get paid more than providers in other states under
formulas in the bill designed to help the so-called Frontier States.
- Longshoremen were added to the list of high-risk professions
shielded from the full impact of a new tax on high-value health
insurance plans. Electrical linemen were already shielded, along with
policemen, firefighters, emergency first responders and workers in
construction, mining, forestry, fishing and certain agriculture jobs.
Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., took the lead in pushing for the
- Gun rights lobbyists pushed for language to ban collection of data on gun ownership in the bill.
- Construction industry companies won language limiting their
exposure to penalties on employers who don’t provide affordable health
insurance to their employees.
The American Medical
Association announced its coveted endorsement Monday after Reid made a
series of change to please doctors, including:
1. Eliminating a 5 percent tax on elective cosmetic surgery
procedures, replacing it with a 10 percent tax on indoor tanning
2. Eliminating payment cuts to specialty and other physicians
that were to be used to pay for bonuses to primary care physicians and
general surgeons in underserved areas. The bonuses remain.
3. Dropping a proposed fee on physicians who participate in Medicare. The $300 fee was to be used to fight fraud in the program.
The pharmaceutical industry scored victories including:
1. Makers of brand-name biotech drugs — expensive
pharmaceuticals made from living cells — won 12 years of protection
against would-be generic competitors.
2. Drugmakers fended off proposals to allow importation of
cheaper drugs from Canada and other countries, and to let the
government negotiate drug prices for Medicare recipients.
Source: The Tulsa World