Alexander Says Majority Leader’s Amendment to Protect Nevada from Health Care Mandates Ought to Protect Every State

Posted on October 1, 2009

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today made the following remarks on the floor of the Senate (a full transcript of Alexander’s remarks is available upon request) regarding a change requested by Senator Harry Reid (D-Nev.) in the health care bill that ensures the federal government will cover all increased Medicaid costs for Nevada and three other states, but not Tennessee: • “A lot of people say that it’s hard to find opportunities for bipartisanship when we talk about health care, but I think I found one. I’m on the floor today to say I would like to be a cosponsor of the Reid Amendment, the proposal by the majority leader of the Senate, the respected Harry Reid from Nevada. The New York Times reported yesterday that the majority leader had heard from his governor and from other people in his state, and he was deeply concerned about the legislation that’s coming through because it would increase costs in Nevada . . . And so the majority leader did exactly what a senator, I would think, would do. He proposed an amendment to the Senate Finance Committee and basically said, “Take care of Nevada.’” • “My guess is that Senator Feinstein and Senator Boxer would be happy to cosponsor the Reid Amendment if it included California. I would be if it included Tennessee.” • “One way to describe Senator Reid’s amendment is to say to Nevada and three other states, Oregon, Rhode Island and Michigan, ‘We’re going to pay 100 percent of your Medicaid costs.’ That’s a step in the right direction. That’s not a criticism of the majority leader. It’s saying, ‘Mr. Majority Leader, you’re going in the right direction, but you didn’t include Tennessee, and Tennessee’s not expected to return to 2008 revenues until 2014 and that means state employees won’t receive raises for six years and the reserves will be depleted and there will be no new construction projects.’” • “Nothing irritates governors and legislators more than Washington politicians who come up with big ideas, announce them, take credit for them, and then send the bill to the governor and the legislature.”