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WATER COOLER

The Water Cooler is written by Washington Times staffers.

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GOP senators ask for same Nebraska 'deal' for all other states

Republican Senators hammered away tonight at the huge Medicaid deal for Nebraska that is seen as a trade off for Sen. Ben Nelson's vote for the Senate health care bill. With the addition of Mr. Nelson, the Democrats now have 60 votes to break a GOP filibuster on the Senate floor, end debate, and vote on the health care bill.

Sen. Reid plays down Nelson Medicaid buy off

The Washington Times reported last night Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE) had told reporters no deal was agreed to after he emerged from a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and other Democratic leaders. He went on to say health care talks were ongoing. What he failed to mention through all of his rhetoric about pro-life language in the bill was the huge Medicaid pay off to Nebraska being slipped into the health care bill. Essentially, the federal government will pay for Nebraska's new Medicaid recipients. The provision is worth about $45 million for the first decade.