Republicans hammered Democrats seven and a-half years ago for larding Obamacare with state-specific payoffs and sweeteners to secure the last few votes for passage. Who can forget the “Cornhusker Kickback,” which funneled $45 million to Nebraska to nail the support of former Sen. Ben Nelson?
But the revised Senate Obamacare repeal bill shows Republicans engaged in the same pattern of horse trading as they try to win 50 ayes to advance an unpopular bill.
Leaders are likely to cook up even more deals to entice uncommitted senators. As conservative health policy expert Chris Jacobs points out at The Federalist, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell still has about $200 billion that he can spend on holdouts without breaking Senate budget rules he's using to try to pass the legislation. The Trump administration is pitching a proposal to Nevada as a way to bring Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval and Sen. Dean Heller on board that aims to move Medicaid expansion enrollees into the private insurance market where they could use subsidies to help pay for premiums.
Here’s a rundown of some of the ways the latest bill seeks to win over members of the GOP caucus: