Nelson 'pleased' at death of the 'Cornhusker Kickback'

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) on Monday said he was pleased with the White House's decision to strip from its healthcare proposal extra Medicaid money slated for his home state.

Over a month ago, Nelson called on Democrats to get rid of the so-called "Cornhusker Kickback," which Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) originally offered to Nelson to help win him over as the 60th vote on the Senate’s healthcare reform bill last December.

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But helped sour House Democrats to the Senate bill, which contributed to the breakdown of health bill merger negotiations between the House and Senate. The surprising victory of Sen. Scott Brown (R) in the Massachusetts special election in the midst of merger talks in January eventually derailed the negotiations.

“I am pleased to see the Nebraska Medicaid provision is extended to all states," Nelson said in a statement. "I have said all along that the federal government needs to either fully fund the new Medicaid costs for states, or to un-mandate the requirement on state budgets."

The removal of the funds (page 1) could help pave the way for wary House Democrats to get on board with the president’s proposal.

Nelson praised the president's decision to replace his deal with across-the-board federal funding for the Medicaid expansion mandated on all states.

Obama’s proposal seeks to do away with unbalanced Medicaid assistance for states by providing 100 percent federal support for newly eligible individuals between 2014 and 2017, 95 percent support from 2018 to 2019 and 90 percent support from 2020 onward.