Health Care Reform Lottery

Health care reform has become a lottery windfall for members of Congress willing to sell their vote in exchange for dollars.

Washington correspondent Jamie Dupree Tweets and blogs on a regular basis, giving readers and insiders view of sausage making inside the beltway. It is not a pretty sight.

The recent debate in the House resulted in a narrow approval of health care reform. The debate over abortion funding with taxpayer dollars got the headlines but there was more going on behind the scenes.

Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA) made clear he had won money for a medical school in his Fresno-based district and more.

“During my negotiations to help improve the bill for our Valley, I was able to achieve funding for a medical school in the Valley, with studies at UC Merced and residency in Fresno, as well as additional incentives to bring health professionals to our Valley,” Costa said in a statement.

Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-CA) – who last week was quoted as saying he was leaning against the bill – said he won $167 million in health care funding for hospitals in his district.

So Rep. Cardoza was against the bill before he was for the bill.

Of course all of this is transparent, as promised by Obama during his bid for the White House, right?

Not necessarily.

I went through the final version of the House bill, as printed in the Congressional Record, and couldn’t find anything related to what these members were taking credit for, which means that probably would be worked out through grant funding by the Obama Administration.

So when is a budget item not a budget item?

When funding falls outside the scope of health care reform.

That would mean these figures are not part of the CBO’s price tag for  H.R. 3962.

So what else is included in health care reform that has nothing to do with health care? Here is a partial list.

• Patterson Irrigation District Pumping Plant and Fish Screen

• Patterson Irrigation District Pipeline Project

• Diversify Level 2/Level IV Refuge Program

• Announce 2011 rescheduled water decision in the Spring, 2010

• Additional federal support for the Westside Water Use Efficiency and Conservation program

• Support the removal of restrictions under the Emergency Drought Relief Act which restrict funds to temporary projects

• Mendota Dam Replacement

• San Luis Drain Rehabilitation

Transparency you can believe in. Yes you can.

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