It is totally clear to me that Obama and Pelosi will spend any amount of money to pass their key legislative initiatives. In the case of Waxman-Markey, the marginal price per vote turned out to be about $3.5 billion. But they didn't even blink at paying this. That is why I fear that some horrible form of health care "reform" may actually pass. If it does, the marginal cost per vote may be higher, but I don't think our leaders care.
What does it take to get a wavering senator to vote for health care reform?
Here's a case study.
On page 432 of the Reid bill, there is a section increasing federal Medicaid subsidies for "certain states recovering from a major disaster."
The section spends two pages defining which "states" would qualify, saying, among other things, that it would be states that "during the preceding 7 fiscal years" have been declared a "major disaster area."
I am told the section applies to exactly one state: Louisiana, the home of moderate Democrat Mary Landrieu, who has been playing hard to get on the health care bill.
In other words, the bill spends two pages describing would could be written with a single world: Louisiana. (This may also help explain why the bill is long.)
Senator Harry Reid, who drafted the bill, cannot pass it without the support of Louisiana's Mary Landrieu.
How much does it cost? According to the Congressional Budget Office: $100 million.