Reid on Ben Nelson’s Cornhusker Kickback: “He Got This for Him­self; He Wanted It”

(p. 5A) WASHINGTON — Senate Ma­jority Leader Harry Reid this week defended the now-defunct Nebraska Medicaid exemption that was tucked into the Senate health care bill as Reid sought the support of Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb.

Nelson has said that he never asked for the exemption and that his goal all along was to provide relief for all states.
Tagged with the derisive moni­ker “Cornhusker kickback,” the arrangement quickly proved po­litically toxic.
. . .
Asked why he didn’t offer the same deal to every state from the start, Reid said, “Because I didn’t have it for everybody at that time. I thought I could get it as we moved along in the legisla­tion, and I did.”
Van Susteren said: “You’re telling me that when Ben Nelson got that, when the two of you sat down together, you said, ‘Ben, we’ll do it this way. … Nebraska’s got it now, but after we get this passed we’re going to go for ev­erybody?’ ” “No, no, no. He got this for him­self. He wanted it,” Reid said.

For the full story, see:
JOSEPH MORTON. “Reid thought Nelson should boast of ‘kickback’; The Senate leader says it was a “terrific” Medicaid deal that all states now share.” Omaha World-Herald (Weds., April 7, 2010): 5A.
(Note: first ellipsis added; second ellipsis in original.)

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