Expanded Cornhusker Kickback Would Cost Billions

Posted: January 26, 2010 in Ben Nelson, Health Care, Nebraska, Paul Ryan, Wisconsin

By now, everyone is aware of the lucrative payoff that Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson (D) received to vote for the Senate health care bill.  Despite mounting evidence to the contrary, Nelson insisted that every state would get the kickback and he would make sure that happened (as Brian Faughnan reported a few weeks ago).  Needless to say, Nelson’s kickback, when expanded to all 50 states would become very expensive.

Thanks to Paul Ryan (R-WI), we don’t have to wonder how expensive it will be.  He asked the CBO to estimate the costs of this expansion.  The following document is the response Rep. Ryan received.

CBO Analysis Nebraska Deal .

As you can see, this expansion of the program to all 50 states would result in an increase of the cost of the bill of $35.3 billion.  {This would wipe out a healthy chunk of the CBO estimated budget deficit reduction of $130 billion.}

As Philip Klein points out in The American Spectator, the cost of the bill is yet again hidden by creative accounting.  Much like with the rest of the bill (which has 7 years of benefits spread over 10 years of taxes) the expanded Cornhusker kickback only represents three years of cost increases spread over 10 years.  This means that the true cost of the kickback won’t really be felt until the second 10 year period.

If Nelson is correct, and every state has access to this kickback, then the good Senator can rightly be accused of selling his soul for the fiscal ruin of his country.

h/t to John Goodman for the letter.

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