Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Let’s Make a Deal

Many US Senate Democrats played “Let’s Make a Deal” with leadership, scoring huge bonuses for their constituencies in exchange for their votes on health care reform very late Sunday night in Washington.

At the last minute, Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska, secured a major benefit for his state when he agreed to cast the vital 60th vote in exchange for permanent federal coverage of the Medicaid cost increases, which amounts to an extra $100 million over the next decade alone. Senator Nelson is in good company, as senators from Vermont, Montana, Louisiana and Connecticut pulled in similar deals in exchange for their votes.

Massachusetts, you must think, must have also gotten some perks during negotiations; after all, our delegation consists solely of Democrats, including interim Senator Paul Kirk, whose appointment was rushed through the State Legislature under the exaggerated claims that his presence was absolutely vital to the protection of the Commonwealth’s interests in the health care debate.

As we see now, Senator Kirk’s presence in Washington has done nothing to help us: Michael Widmer of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation is predicting that health care costs in Massachusetts will actually rise should this legislation pass!

It is even more apparent now that this process was a huge mistake. The Democrats in the Massachusetts Legislature, abusing their super-majority in both chambers, changed the rules that they themselves created four years ago to prevent a possible Republican from filling the US Senate seat, and for what? Yet another expense to burden Massachusetts taxpayers.