Health Care Bill Provides Goodies for Some Democrats

By Staff | December 21, 2009 | 4:49 AM EST

Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill following passage of the $1.1 trillion spending bill in Washington on Dec. 13, 2009. (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)

Washington (AP) - Sen. Harry Reid, architect of the Senate health care bill, cut numerous last-minute deals to get the votes he needed to overcome a Republican filibuster.  In addition, powerful Democrats inserted home-state provisions in a 383-page package of amendments Reid filed this weekend to the 2,074-page bill.
Among other items, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., included a provision allowing residents of the town of Libby, Mont., who are suffering asbestos-related illnesses from a mining operation, to get Medicare benefits.
Sen. Ben Nelson won a list of benefits for Nebraska, including a commitment for the federal government to pick up the full tab of an expansion of Medicaid.
And Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., who faces a difficult re-election, inserted a $100 million item for construction of a university hospital that his spokesman said he hopes to claim for the University of Connecticut.
The deal-making and vote-buying necessary to advance the Senate health care bill has angered Republicans.