Cornhusker Kickback Tally

As the future of a health care reform bill seemed to getting more and more cloudy yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office weighed in with a report on the controversial "Cornhusker Kickback" - one of the extras that won the support of Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE).

That controversial deal allowed Nebraska to get extra Medicaid aid that other states are not getting, as the feds would pick up the costs of covering newly eligible Medicaid enrollees starting in 2017.

The CBO was asked to figure out how much it would cost if all fifty states received that same benefit.  The answer was $35 billion over 10 years according to news reports.

But if you read the CBO report, it doesn't say that.  Yes, it is $35 billion between 2010 and 2019, but no costs are incurred until 2017.

So it is actually $35.3 billion over three years - $10.7 billion in 2017, $11.7 billion in 2018 and $13.0 billion in 2019 (maybe you noticed how that number goes up each year.)

You can download the two page letter from the CBO at  to check for yourself.

So, let's just do a little estimate of our own here.  If the cost of this goes up say, $1 billion each year, then by the time of year number ten, this would cost $20 billion per year.

That means, the real total of this over ten years from 2017-2026 would be $155 billion for all fifty states to receive such a special Medicaid deal as the one cut by Sen. Nelson of Nebraska.