Sen. Ben Nelson said Tuesday it was a mistake for the Obama Administration to take on massive health care reforms in 2009, and suggested efforts would have been better spent addressing the economy.
Nelson, who provided the crucial 60th vote to advance the bill toward Senate passage on Dec. 19, has been active ever since trying to explain his actions to Nebraskans. Ads have aired on television and Nelson is making the rounds with the state’s media.
He requested Tuesday’s interview with the Tribune.
“I think it was a mistake to take health care on as opposed to continuing to spend the time on the economy,” he said...
“I would have preferred not to be dealing with health care in the midst of everything else, and I think working on the economy would have been a wiser move,” he said.
Senator Nelson has been underfire both within his very red state and nationally for, well, quite a lot really. For being the 60th vote for the Senate healthcare bill, for doing so by either getting the other 49 states to pay Nebraska's added Medicaid costs in perpetuity, or getting America to pay all additional Medicaid costs for all states - which would have changed the CBO scoring dramatically, and for "selling" his vote so cravenly on a bill with such enormous impact and importance. This is an attempt to walk back that vote, and to quiet the criticisms.
There is, of course, a better way to do that. He could just say no next time he gets the chance. After all, if it's the worng time to take up health care, he does have it in his power to make that statement more forcefully.