Monday, December 21, 2009

How Sausage is Made

The Health Bill passed the Senate, and this article in the NYTimes illustrates how legislation is passed, with all sorts of special deals for key Senators. Some highlights:

Another item in the package would increase Medicare payments to hospitals and doctors in any state where at least 50 percent of the counties are “frontier counties,” defined as those having a population density less than six people per square mile.

And which are the lucky states? The bill gives no clue. But the Congressional Budget Office has determined that Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming meet the criteria.

Another provision would give $100 million to an unnamed “health care facility” affiliated with an academic health center at a public research university in a state where there is only one public medical and dental school.

The latter may be in PA, though nobody seems to be sure. I wonder if the PSU Hershey Medical
Center qualifies as a public medical school?

This reminds me of a bill (in the 80's) that provided a certain tax break only to cities with an American League Baseball team and a population of more than one million people. This still left two candidates (pretty obvious), so another provision in the bill limited the tax break to States that had a Republican Governor in 1980. The two provisions were several hundred pages apart in the bill. Guess which city won?

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