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Clinton joins critics of Nebraska's extra health benefit

By Perry Bacon Jr.
The much-maligned agreement in the Senate health care bill that would provide Nebraska a special deal in which the federal government would pay forever for extra poor people to join Medicaid there gained another critic on Friday: former president Bill Clinton.

"Get as much gunk out of the Senate bill as possible. That Nebraska thing is really hurting us," Clinton told House Democrats in a closed-door speech at the Visitors' Center at the Capitol, according to a House aide who attended the session.

In between his work as U.N. special envoy for Haiti and a planned Friday campaign stop to Massachusetts to aid struggling U.S. Senate candidate Martha Coakley, the ex-president spent almost two hours with Democrats at their annual issues retreat.

Clinton, who spoke behind closed doors to Senate Democrats ahead of last month's vote to approve health care legislation in that chamber, frequently invoked 1994 in his remarks.

He warned Democrats that they should not attempt to separate themselves from President Obama in their reelection campaigns, as Clinton felt Democrats did back then to him. At the same time, he invoked former Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky (D-Pa.), who voted for Clinton's controversial 1993 budget even as Republicans correctly predicted that it would cost her reelection the next year.

"If you get beaten, you want to do it with your eyes wide open," he said.

But like Obama on Thursday, Clinton predicted the health bill would become more popular as members touted it in public.

"The worst thing you can do is nothing," he said.

By Perry Bacon Jr.  |  January 15, 2010; 2:36 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Health Care  
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I admire Bill Clinton's constant support for healthcare reform--even though he and Hillary, with her much more substantive resume and issues, were viciously misrepresented and maligned during a phenomenally Un-Democratic primary.

Martha Coakley held a previously principled position on the current Senate "Insurance Reform" bill and did not agree with its lack of Public Option.

Coakley's only chance against Scottie-Cosmo-Centerfold-boy Brown [182] go back and support PUBLIC OPTION and then she will probably win for her principled position and separation from the President's myopic, insurance-pharma-supported disgraceful "Plan"!

If Scottie-Centerfold-boy Brown wins, however, it may be still good news for those who still hope and pray for the Public Option alternative that this administration despicably threw to the trash can to win over senate votes and water it down to nothing...

With 51 votes needed in Senate only, then the bill would proceed in Congress as part of the Budge in Reconciliation....and resurrect the cost-effective, Universal Public Option that the current administration sold out to lobbyists and Stupakistan.

Posted by: MSakel | January 17, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

There are at least 4 states, plus the unions who will be privileged with special deals which OTHER PEOPLE will have to pick up the tab for.

And don't forget the trial lawyers who have remain untouched throughout. Call it a "consulting fee".

How did Orwell's pig rulers say it in Animal Farm?

"All animals are equal, except some animals are more equal."

Obama, Pelosi, Reid (Reverend Wright, and Saul Alinsky), plus the Democratic Party = Animal Farm.

2010 is going to be a screamer for democrats.

So much for the new era of progressivism.

Hiss, fizzle - pop. Done.

Posted by: Parker1227 | January 17, 2010 4:38 AM | Report abuse

It is obvious that the democrats are going to find some way to pass this Bill, come "hell" or "high water", or any earthquake or winter storm or hurricane etc. It would have been nice for the public to hear Senators and House members debating the contents of the Bill, rather than just getting information about the bartering that's going on to pass the bill. I bet that, probably, not a single member of Congress knows exactly what this bill represents for America in the future, or even exactly what is in the entire bill.

Meanwhile, while the nation is distracted by this bill and the upcoming Boston election, other things are happening such as the Establishment of the Council of Governors--a body of 10 state governors directly appointed by the President to help advance the "synchronization and integration of State and federal military activities in the U.S. It is a recent Executive order that some fear could be the precursor to Martial Law. It could be seen at: .

Posted by: CalP | January 16, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Really, Wild Billy... you think we don't know that your buddies always love to pack the bills with "gunk? " They just usually aren't so recklessly overt about it.

Well, now that a sliver of sunlight has been shined on the process, most Americans want to illuminate the entire mess from here on out. Politicians beware -- things will be different from here on out. Get used to it.

Posted by: poplab | January 16, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

The answer to Nebraska's health plan is...............THE PUBLIC OPTION for ALL!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: demtse | January 16, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Could anybody tell me please why Republican Senators Snowe or Collins are not supporting the bill now that it doesn't include a 'public option'? Thanks

Posted by: jdmorrison1 | January 16, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON — Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska is asking Senate leaders to eliminate a controversial Medicaid deal for his state in the health care bill.

The moderate Democrat, who provided the crucial 60th vote for the Senate health care bill, has been criticized because Nebraska was exempted paying any cost of a proposed expansion of Medicaid.

All other states would have to pick up a portion of the tab after the first few years.

Nelson's been arguing ever since that he never wanted a special deal for Nebraska and that he wants all states protected from burdensome new costs.

That didn't quiet the controversy so Nelson took it one step further on Friday and asked for the deal to be withdrawn and replaced with a provision treating all states equally.

Posted by: omaarsblade | January 16, 2010 1:26 AM | Report abuse

Republican State Of Desperation

Republican Hate Mongers in 2010-2012 Mode

Republicans Praying on their Knees for a Successful Terrorist Attack.

Republicans On their Knees Praying for the Economy To get Worse, and Not Get Better.

Republicans on their Knees Praying that the Unemployment Rates Grow Even Higher.

Republicans on their Knees wanting something Bad to happen to the President of the USA.

Republicans on their Knees Praying for No Health Care Reform.

Republicans on their Knees Praying for the Absolute Worse for America, Under the Obama Presidency, Placing their Political Titles Over America and the American Population.
Anything For a Win in 2012-2010..Pitiful.

Bad Kharma, Bad Kharma Very, Very, Bad Kharma

Posted by: omaarsblade | January 16, 2010 12:52 AM | Report abuse

These Hate Mongers are Desperate.

Obama's a Socialist,Communist, Marxist, Islamist, Terrorist, Leninist, Stalinist, Radical Exremist, he's taking away our Freedoms, all in a Span of 11 1/2 Months ?

Just Any [Ist Word], the B@stards can Think Of to Describe their Hate of President Obama, will do.

Most of these Hate Mongers aren't Man-Woman Enough to say they Hate President Obama because he WON, the Popular Vote and Electoral College. He's [Bi-Racial] he's of Caucasian & African Descent, that's what he is, though these Race Hate Mongers call Him [Black] they still have Not Gotten Over the Crushing 2008 Presidential Elections, They want Him Out of Office, though he's only been in Office for [[11 1/2 Months]]

To Hear these Low Life Hate Mongers, he's been in Power for 11 1/2 Years and Counting, these Low Life's Can't Name a Freedom, that he's taken Away form them, yet are on TV Screaming "I want My Country Back" "My Freedoms are being Taken Away from Me"

Borderline Bull-Spit !!

These Hate Mongers Can't Name One Freedom President Obama has Taken from them, in his 11 1/2 Months as President, other than being the 1st Bi-Racial President of the USA.

Fact: The Heart & Root of these Hate Mongers Hate and Disdain of President Obama, is that He's Not White, If President Obama was Caucasian, they'd be Singing his Praises.

Facts are Facts.

Posted by: omaarsblade | January 16, 2010 12:50 AM | Report abuse


Bush-Cheney's Special Interest...

Preserving Corporate WelFare via Bailing Out Of....

1. Wall Street

2. Fannie Mae- Freddie Mac

3. AIG

4. Bear-Sterns

5. Morgan-Stanley

6. Bank Of America

7. Citi-Group

8. Morgan Chase

9. Maintaining The Status Quo [Elitist] and Keeping them in Control of the Prevailing Society.

10. Borrowing Money From Communist-Socialist China, To Finance Our 2 Wars, Paying 500 Million Dollars in Interest to Communist-Socialist China, Our Nation's Financiers.

11. Thank Republican President Bush- Republican Vice President, Cheney and Corporate America, for Selling Out America's Manufacturing [Jobs-Workers] for the Cheap Labor of Communist-Socialist Chinese Laborers and Bush-Cheney Gave Tax Incentives & Tax Shelters, to Motivate Corporate to Leave America's Labor Force for China, which has Contributed Mightily to High Unemployment in America.

Note: Bush-Cheney in 8 Years Gave Us this Bad Economy, they were the Very Worse this Nation has Produced and Some of You Low Life's Voted these 2 Incompetents into Office for 2 Terms.

"The Race is Not Won by the Swift, But to the One who Endures til the End" ...

President Obama has been President for all of 11 1/2 Months and it Took 8 Years of George W.Bush & Dick Cheney and their 2001-2006 Big Spending, Majority Ruling Republican Senate-Congress, to Do the Damage to this Economy, as well as Wall Street [Welfare] Bank, AIG, Auto , Morgan-Stanley, Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac & GoldMan-Sachs BailOuts, that Did this Nation In, Not President Obama, no Matter How Much You Hate-Fear Monger his Administration of 11 1/2 Months.

Posted by: omaarsblade | January 16, 2010 12:49 AM | Report abuse

WOW You Hate Mongers are Out In Full Force...

To hear the Republican Hacks use the same Term, Over and Over..

"Closed Doors"

All Deals are Held Behind Closed Doors.

Bush and his Once Majority Ruling 2001-2006 Republican Senate-Congress Held all of its Deals Behind Closed Doors.


Transparency: For these Deals to be Held Behind Closed Doors, a Ton Of Information has been Given, even during Both the Senate and Congress Bill Processing as well as any and all Particular Concessions made.

The Present Administration has given You All, a look See, into how the Political Process happens.

Now You All have SEEN in 7 Months of Health Care Processing, what has Gone On in the Senate and Congress for All These Many Years.

This Process has Existed for 100's of Years and You should Thank President Obama for this LIGHT SHINING, because its Truly the way it is.

Corporations and their Lobbyist Above All Others, Make Washington Sing and Dance, to their Tunes, in this Case, Not So.

President Obama has Shown Transparency, You Low Life's just can't See It or Accept it.

The Political Process is Ugly, Filled to the Gills with Concessions and Lobbyist Influence, Live With it, because its been Happening for [Years]

Posted by: omaarsblade | January 16, 2010 12:47 AM | Report abuse

Is it not amazing that all the supporters of Obama continue to get 'special deals' while WE THE PEOPLE are left paying for this piece of crap that those crooks in Washington want to shove up a certain piece of our body.

And they do not even want to use any type of lube.

They only include demonocrats, and special interest groups, Obama is either there himself OR has his minions creating the bill.

No one listens, they think if they CONTINUE TO LIE to the American People we will agree to the pile of sh-t they have created.

I hope and pray that Brown wins in Mass.. and that OBAMA is run out of town in shame after Sunday.

IF this passes all those on the HILL might as well line up in the firing squad because they will be REMOVED FROM OFFICE IN 2010, 2012, 2014.

I am already making bullet points to help me campaign against Brown and Sutton.

Both have already LIED to the Voters in Ohio. But then they are taking their lead from the LIAR IN CHIEF.

Obama could not tell the truth on any subject if his life depended on it.

He is a habitual liar that can not tell the truth..

We must IMPEACH HIM before he gets out of office so we can TRY HIM FOR HIGH CRIMES AND TREASON against the United States Constitution and the American People.

Posted by: miller515501 | January 15, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

my Dem Governor also hated that deal NE got, said it is unfair to other states that have more people in need. i wish Bill Clinton was still president.
check out my Bill Clinton blog

Posted by: duganal | January 15, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Get it on the books now and fix it later??? What a terrible viewpoint. It's not like this is a simple bill that can be tweaked on the back end - it creates new entitlements, which are always next to impossible to "fix later."

I also agree with the other commenter who said that shamefulness of the Nelson agreement pales in comparison to the deal with the unions.

We had such high hopes...

Posted by: 1ofamillion | January 15, 2010 6:28 PM | Report abuse

We need to throw out this 2,000+ page of gobbly-gook and start from scratch, with BOTH parties involved. Then we might come up with something worthwhile for ALL Americans.

Those who say, "pass it now and fix it later" don't know the damage to America you're asking for...damage and evil that might be with us forever.

Posted by: iejanette | January 15, 2010 6:11 PM | Report abuse

Surely the great majority of Americans will do the right thing when the chips are down and support health reform. The bill is certainly not perfect but let's get it on the books NOW and fix it later. Hope and pray that our congresspeople will vote their conscience and pass this thing.

Posted by: HotDem | January 15, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

Gunk in the heath care bill..!!

Better put ....corruption and favoritism the heath care bill + a large dose of union payoffs need to be removed.

Feel like congress is laughing at you...they must have a low opinion if they carry out these activities in front of our face as if we do not exist. I think they are testing the limit of anger and feel they are room to go.

Out with the rascals

Posted by: jacques21 | January 15, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Why are Republicans always critical of the Democrats (however they spell the name)?

Because the GOP is too grand, too old, and too party like to die decently.

No special deals for ANY state.

Posted by: RonScheurer | January 15, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Well, we have the Nebraska deal, wasn't there something given to Lieberman to get his vote?...and what about the $300,000,000 that was pledged to Louisiana - whose pocket is this coming out of?

Something needs to be done about health care, mainly because of all the uninsured people using emergency rooms for which we, the taxpayer, have to pay. But has anyone done an investigation as to how many of these uninsured people using the emergency rooms are going there for treatment for colds (which is the major complaint)or some other non-emergency reason? Why not establish rules and impose penalties for ER providers who allow non-emergency care rather than directing the patient to outlying clinics where care costs far less? Where patients must pay minimum up-front payment or apply for immediate Medicaid? Can you imagine the reduction in health care costs we'd see?

Posted by: iejanette | January 15, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Nelson already explained that the Nebraska provision was a stalking horse for similar exemptions for other states, and has recently signalled that he wouldn't care if it got dropped. end of story.

Posted by: JoeT1 | January 15, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Democrats could fix this in one fell swoop,

give a public option to Medicaid people who get kicked off their state's medicaid rolls because of budget cutbacks (like what happened to my wife) in reconciliation.

but Democrats seem to owe their souls to the corporate lobbyist, when it was the poor and middle class that put them in power.

It seems they have lost their way. So all hope is gone, along with the audacity.

Posted by: owldog | January 15, 2010 5:13 PM | Report abuse

I see our little friends the Limbaugh acolytes have arrived again. What cute names they have for members of the Democratic party. What good ideas they have for fixing the problem. What a fine grasp of reality. I wonder if any of you actually know what is in this bill or are you simply too busy Googling "Obama" all day and thinking up rude names that include your childish fixation with excrement to pay attention to issues? Do you actually know how government works or remember twelve years of Republican Congresses paying for a phony war with IOUs, sticking it to the middle class and deregulating us into a financial meltdown?

I don't think this is the perfect bill and more work is needed before it comes to a vote. Bill Clinton is right about the Nebraska perk. But the cost of doing nothing is much worse.

Posted by: greyK | January 15, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

While I disagree with most of what the democrats and President Obama are doing I will give them credit...they are doing just what they said they'd do during the elections: health care, cap and trade, foreign policy (guantanamo, trials for terrorists), etc. I don't understand why everyone is so suprised and his ratings are falling...the people that voted for him and other democrats should be very pleased.

Posted by: sdubose | January 15, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

The Democrats do not care about getting a decent bill. Otherwise, they would have pursued a public option financed with a VAT. What we got was a special interest hodgepodge where only some people are expected to pay. I am not a union member so Obama said "tough luck," you pay. I do not work for a state or local government so Obama said "tough luck," you pay. I do vote, so in September (primaries) and November I will say "tough luck" to my Senators and representative if they vote for the special interest bonanza, and I will vote for their opponents.

If health care reform is supposed to benefit all of America, then Obama can ask all of America to pay. Obama rejected the House "millionaire" tax, which at least asked for payment based on ability to pay. Instead, Obama has played to special interests like unions and state and government workers to the detriment of other middle class workers with the same income and same health insurance as union or government workers. That is simply unfair.

Posted by: JamesSmith1 | January 15, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm amazed that Clinton would at all support Obama, given that Obama is determined to label Clinton as a racist...

Posted by: tru-indy | January 15, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

This is sausage making, people. You guys would have us believe Republicans make laws with white gloves and silver platters.

Quit with the hypocrisy.

Posted by: ggilby1 | January 15, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

This is the CHICAGO WAY buy what you want no matter what the cost. the funny thing is , it has gotten so out of hand that they aren't even discreet about it any more. They throw it right in purr faces and WE being the STUPIDS we are ,we accept it all. What a disgusting thing this has turned out to be.

Posted by: itscc721 | January 15, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

OH SHEESH, what a shocker. These DEMOCRAPS have one thing in common, THEY STICK TOGETHER no matter what the circumstances. they have their heads so far up OBAMAS @ $$ they can see through his eyes, It is all a sham. they are democrats they don't no any better. They have two faces so trey talk out of two mouths. They are back stabbers and as corrupt as you can get. They on;y have one agenda WHAT IS IN IT FOR ME, MYSLEF and I.

Posted by: itscc721 | January 15, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

If the deal with Nelson stinks then what
about the special tax exemption for unions
until 2018. This is cronyism at its worst,
but typical of the tactics of Obama and his
wrecking crew. There is no question Obama
has grossly overstepped whatever good will
be first possessed and he himself will be
thrown under the fabled bus. Let us hope
and pray for Brown to win next Tuesday and
I hope the people of the state are prepared
for the villainy of ACORN and other left
wing radicals. Franken sits in the Senate
today because of fraudulent vote counts in

Posted by: ekakuku | January 15, 2010 4:24 PM | Report abuse


Thanks for your insightful analysis.

Posted by: sammalone1 | January 15, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Another, really - really bad day for the DEMOCRUDS.

Posted by: stephenwhelton | January 15, 2010 3:47 PM | Report abuse

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