The Democrat-dominated Senate passed its version of healthcare legislation over this last weekend, with Democrat Ben Nelson of Nebraska providing the 60th "yes" vote. An Associated Press story provides samples of earmarks ("pork") Senators were given for their votes:
* Nelson was able to exempt Nebraska from having to bear any of the added Medicaid expenses the legislation imposes on states. (This maneuver keeps the federal cost of the legislation down by passing it on to the states. Taxpayers still foot the bill.) This means that all taxpayers pay for Nelson's vote. Vermont (represented by Democrat Senator Patrick Leahy and Independent Bernie Sanders) and Massachusetts (represented by Democrats John Kerry and Paul G. Kirk,) received similar special "aid" from the legislation.
* Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana,) chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, had language inserted that provided 2,900 citizens of a small Montana town "special" access to Medicare.
* Senator Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana) negotiated $100 million in extra aid to Louisiana in exchange for her vote.
* Senator Bill Nelson (D-Florida) tailored a special provision that grandfathered in hundreds of thousands of Florida seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage who would have otherwise lost coverage.
* Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Connecticutt) engineered $100 million for a hospital that's being built by the University of Connecticutt.
Other Democrat special interest groups received special consideration.
As Otto von Bismarck said, "Laws are like sausages. It is better not to see them being made." Fifty-eight Democrats and two Independents sold the American healthcare system -- and the lives of our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren -- for the political equivalent of a blue-light special.