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Nebraska Governor: ‘We Didn’t Want a Special Deal’ « The Washington Independent

Defending the special Medicaid deal that Democratic leaders gave to Nebraska to entice Sen. Ben Nelson’s (D-Neb.) support for health care reform, Nelson has said that he pushed for that perk on behalf of the state’s governor, Republican Dave Heineman, who was concerned about the increased pressure that a Medicaid expansion would have on Nebraska’s budget. But don’t tell that to Heineman, who appeared on Fox News this morning to dispute Nelson’s claim that the deal was the governor’s bidding.

“We didn’t want a special deal,” Heineman said.

Nebraskans are opposed to this special deal. I’m opposed to it. … All states ought to be treated fairly and equally, particularly when you’re talking about a federal program like Medicaid.

In fact, Heineman said his concern was with unfunded mandates in general, “whether it’s Medicaid or education or whatever.”

The deal has haunted Nelson since it was struck last month, sending his approval ratings south ever since. In light of the embarrassment the agreement has brought to the state, the Nebraska moderate might not insist that the provision remain.

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