Politics & Government

Buchanan to file bill repealing 'sweetheart deals' in health law

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan announced today he will introduce legislation repealing the so-called "Louisiana Purchase" and other "unseemly" spending attached to the recently adopted health care reform legislation.

Buchanan, R-Sarasota, said his bill would not affect the content of the overall health care bill but would target the hundreds of millions in spending added to secure individual votes of several U.S. senators.

“This ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ mentality is offensive to the American people, and rightly so,” Buchanan said in a statement. “If legislation cannot pass on its own merits but needs to be sweetened with taxpayer boondoggles costing hundreds of millions of dollars then something is grossly wrong with the process.”

Buchanan said if Congress had adopted his proposed legislation requiring that the legislation be put together in the open, " these sweet-heart deals could have been avoided."

“When members of Congress think they can sneak something into a bill in the dead of night they are more likely to attempt such abuses,” Buchanan said. “Sunshine is the best disinfectant.”

"The Louisiana Purchase" designated $300 million in Medicaid funds to Louisiana in an apparent attempt to secure the vote of Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La. It was inserted shortly before the Senate voted on the measure, and Landrieu supported the bill.

The bill, according to Buchanan, would repeal the following "sweetheart deals" included in the health care law and the reconciliation bill:

- Additional Medicaid funding for Hawaii hospitals.

- Almost $100 million in additional Medicaid funding for Tennessee hospitals.

- The “Louisiana Purchase” providing $300 million in special Medicaid funding for Louisiana.

- Special Medicare funding primarily for hospitals in Michigan and Connecticut.

- The “U-CON” proposal that provides $100 million for a Connecticut hospital.

- The Frontier Funding provision providing new Medicare money for Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wyoming.

- The provision allowing for certain residents in Libby, Montana to participate in Medicare.