I wonder how Nebraskans will feel waking up this morning knowing that their Senator Ben Nelson sold out the rest of the nation on Medicaid reimbursement in order to secure a deal for Nebraska.
While Nebraskans will get new Medicaid mandates covered by the federal government, most other states will sink under the weight of new unfunded mandates. Here’s how Nebraska’s Governor described the problem before Nelson struck his bargain:
“The State of Nebraska cannot afford an unfunded mandate and uncontrolled spending of this magnitude.”
Will Nebraskans be proud of Nelson’s tactics, or ashamed that Nelson has turned Nebraska into a beggar state relying on others to pay Nebraska’s way?
Will Nebraskans sit back in quiet satisfaction knowing that Nebraska has been saved from further unfunded mandates, while other states crumble, or feel like the proverbial person who lay down with dogs and got up with fleas?
Do Nebraskans care that the rest of the nation is furious over this backroom deal, and that a state known for integrity and hard work has had its reputation tarnished? Nebraska and Louisiana now are spoken of in the same breath.
Do Nebraskans have long memories? Or will all be forgiven and forgotten in a few years?
We’ll know the answer to these questions when Ben Nelson is up for reelection in 2012.
Update: Here’s how one Nebraskan feels – A Nebraska doctor’s message for Ben Nelson
And, it appears Nebraskans are reacting negatively to this embarrassment:
But [Nebraska Gov. Dave] Heineman expressed anything but gratitude, saying he had nothing to do with the compromise and calling the overhaul bill “bad news for Nebraska and bad news for America.”
“Nebraskans did not ask for a special deal, only a fair deal,” Heineman said in a statement Sunday.
In response, Nelson fired off a letter Sunday to Heineman saying he’s prepared to ask that the provision covering Nebraska’s Medicaid share “be removed from the amendment in conference, if it is your desire.”