Ne-braska Health Details 

Posted: 7:30 pm Saturday, December 19th, 2009

By Jamie Dupree

I’m not saying it was done on purpose.  But the fact that the one mention of the state of Nebraska (the home state of Sen. Ben Nelson, the final Democrat to back the health care bill) was hyphenated, made me wonder.

What am I talking about?

Well, if you search the 383 page amendment unveiled by Democrats on Saturday, you won’t get a hit for “Nebraska”.

“No matches were found” is what my Adobe Acrobat program says.

But there is a section in there just for Nelson & Nebraska, which alters the federal formula for health care money that goes to the states.

“”(3) Notwithstanding subsection (b) and paragraphs
(1) and (2) of this subsection, the Federal medical assist-
ance percentage otherwise determined under subsection
(b) with respect to all or any portion of a fiscal year that
begins on or after January 1, 2017, for the State of Ne-
braska, with respect to amounts expended for newly eligi-
ble individuals described in subclause (VIII) of section
1902(a)(10)(A)(i), shall be determined as provided for
under subsection (y)(1)(A) (notwithstanding the period
provided for in such paragraph).”

As you can see, there is a mention of “Ne-braska”, but not “Nebraska”.  So what?

Well, about four months ago, I was walking into the Capitol one day with ABC Radio Correspondent Vic Ratner.  We were talking about the drafting of the health care bill, and why it was taking so long in the House.

A woman overheard our conversation and joined in.  She volunteered that she worked in the Legislative Counsel’s office, where their job is to write bill language.

Without any prodding, she started telling us how sometimes the lawyers are asked to misspell certain words, hyphenate them and more, all so you can’t find particular items as easily in the bill text with just a regular search of the document.

I guess I’m too naive, because that never hit me as a possibility.

But when I saw “Ne-braska” in this health care bill language, I wondered if it was just a coincidence or not.

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