It's actually kind of a rhetorical question. I think everyone really knows the main thing wrong, and this is a prime example.
What does it take to get a wavering senator to vote for health care reform?
Here’s a case study.
On page 432 of the Reid bill, there is a section increasing federal Medicaid subsidies for “certain states recovering from a major disaster.”
The section spends two pages defining which “states” would qualify, saying, among other things, that it would be states that “during the preceding 7 fiscal years” have been declared a “major disaster area.”
I am told the section applies to exactly one state: Louisiana, the home of moderate Democrat Mary Landrieu, who has been playing hard to get on the health care bill.
In other words, the bill spends two pages describing would could be written with a single world: Louisiana. (This may also help explain why the bill is long.)
Senator Harry Reid, who drafted the bill, cannot pass it without the support of Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu.
How much does it cost? According to the Congressional Budget Office: $100 million.
That's from Jonathan Karl at ABC's 'The Note.' I'm, sorry to quote it so extensively, but it's necessary I believe. This is the Senate Majority Leader trying to buy the vote of another Senator with $100M of your (and my) tax dollars. Oh, sure, we're supposed to feel that this is a selfless act, because it goes to the people of her state and not directly into her pocket. But the money will be distributed to politcally favored groups, who will no doubt recycle some of it in campaign contributions and support to her re-election efforts, and so it goes. An endless cycle of legal bribery.
This health care bill will remake one fifth of the US economy. If it's not worth voting for without this clause, it shouldn't be worth voting for with it, $100M of "walking around money" or not. The "this is what you have to do to pass legislation argument" doesn't wash. Either it's a great bill, and it should pass on it's own merits, or it's a lousy bill that doesn't deserve support. And that's the case regardless of how much of our money Mr. Reid wants to throw to the wavering Senators.