First, let's see what Nelson got:
Changes for Sen. Ben Nelson (Nebraska)Other courtesans scored big, too:
Nelson secured more than just 100% federal funding for Nebraska’s Medicaid expansion, the list of “sweeteners” (also called the “Cornhusker kickback” by Senate Republicans) includes:
• An exemption from the insurance tax for Nebraska non-profit insurers, with language written in a way that only applies to Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company and Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans (BCBS) of Nebraska (and Michigan). According to news reports, Nelson’s office states that BCBS “would pay between $15 million and $20 million less in fees under the Senate bill than it would have without a change.”
• An exemption from taxes for Medicare supplemental (“Medigap”) insurance providers. Specifically, Mutual of Omaha, will not have to pay taxes on Medigap insurance, while reports also indicate that this tax break will be extended to other companies.
• Some changes requested by Nelson would benefit people across the country, such as the inflation adjustment to the $2,500 cap on tax-exempt contributions to Flexible Savings Accounts (FSAs) and exemptions for nearly 55 physician-owned hospitals that have a provider agreement to participate in Medicare by August 1, 2010 (pushed back from February 1, 2010).
Changes for Sen. Levin (Michigan)
• According to reports, Like Nelson, Levin sought an exemption from the $6 billion annual fee for non-profits, as non-profit insurers make up 76% of industry profits, but drew opposition from liberals. Ultimately, Levin got an exemption from the insurance tax for Michigan non-profit insurers, with language written in a way that applies to Blue Cross Blue Shield Plans (BCBS) of Michigan (and Nebraska).
• Furthermore, the amendment changes the extension of section 508 hospital provisions so that hospitals in Michigan (as well as Connecticut) have the option to benefit under them if it means higher payments.
Changes for Sen. Landrieu (Louisiana):
• Landrieu was one of the first Senators to secure a sweetheart deal, aptly nicknamed the “Louisiana Purchase”; she traded her support for bringing the bill to the floor for a $300 million increase in Medicaid funding for Louisiana. The underlying bill was cryptically written to increase federal Medicaid subsidies for “certain states recovering from a major disaster” during the past 7 years that have been declared a “major disaster area” — and is meant to replenish the decrease in federal money resulting from an “abnormally inflated” per capita income in Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina. This was due to an influx of insurance dollars, federal grants and increased labor wages.
Changes for Sen. Sanders (Vermont):Meanwhile, Max Baucus, Reid's traffic cop who was most recently noted for his dalliance with a staffer, got a little something for the effort, too:
In addition the Vermont FMAP increase, the amendment includes a provision pushed by Sanders to provide an additional $10 billion in funding for community health centers and the National Health Services Corps which he argues would provide primary care to 25 million more people.
Changes for Sen. Bill Nelson (Florida)
As noted above, Nelson was able to secure a deal to keep Medicare Advantage plans enrollees in Florida grandfathered in. Notably, when McCain tried to offer an amendment to allow all enrollees to be grandfathered in, 57 Democrats voted against it.
Changes for Hawaii: The Manager’s Amendment singles out Hawaii as the only state to receive a Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) extension.
Changes for Sen. Lieberman (Connecticut): It amends the extension of section 508 hospital provisions so that hospitals in Connecticut (as well as Michigan) have the option to benefit under them if it means higher payments.
Changes for Sen. Dodd (Connecticut): It was a mystery until just revealed that Chris Dodd’s state will benefit from a cryptically awarded $100 million for a “Health Care Facility” at a public research university that contains a state’s sole public academic medical and dental school—criteria designed to apply to the University of Connecticut.
Changes for Sen. Baucus (Montana):Let's set aside how horribly unseemly all this is for a moment. Here's the question: if congressional courtesans from other states are getting paid, what the hell did Franken and Klobuchar get for us? Near as I can tell, all Franken got was a chance to garner the applause of the harp seals in the Netroots when he decided to gavel down Joe Lieberman. And based on the available evidence, Klobuchar got to enjoy some bean dip or something at the Obama Super Bowl party.
• Baucus secured a pilot program in the amendment to “provide innovative approaches to furnishing comprehensive, coordinated, and cost-effective care” to certain qualified individuals. A qualified individual “is an environmental exposure affected individual…who resides in or around the geographic area subject to an emergency declaration made as of June 17, 2009.” And who might these select few individuals be? Well, according to EPA, “On June 17, 2009, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson issued a Public Health Emergency (PHE) finding at the Libby Asbestos Superfund site in northwest Montana.” This provision would help residents of Libby by allowing them to sign up for Medicare benefits.
C'mon guys -- you need to do better than that. Harry's spreading the money around. Don't just give it to him for free!