The Senate’s version of the healthcare bill took a giant step toward passage after several deals were made with moderate Democratic Senators in exchange for key votes.
Senator Mary Landrieu apparently received a $100 million Medicaid deal just for Louisiana—she bragged it was actually $300 million, according to CBSNews.com.
The deal was so disreputable to Republicans, they gave it a name. "We have new words in our lexicon, the Louisiana Purchase," said Senator John McCain from Arizona.
Joe Lieberman, an Independent from Connecticut, was able to strip the bill of a government insurance program in exchange for his vote.
"And it’s a shame that the only way we can come to consensus in this country is to buy votes," said Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, quoted by the news source.
The most notorious deal may have been achieved by Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who agreed to lend his support to the Democratic cause in exchange for stricter regulations on abortion coverage in the healthcare bill.
The deal reached by Nelson would allow people to purchase insurance plans with abortion coverage, but would force them to write two premium checks—one to cover their plan and the other to cover potential abortion procedures. Individual states could also decree that no plans including abortion coverage would be offered.
The compromise has been criticized by pro-life and pro-choice supporters alike.
"It’s being attacked by both sides, not because it’s so moderate but because it’s crazy," said Richard Doerflinger, a spokesman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, quoted by the Washington Post.
Sara Rosenbaum, a George Washington University professor who thinks the language is too restrictive echoes that sentiment: "None of how this is supposed to work is even remotely in the bill, so I don’t know what people are thinking about it."