Governor Heineman on Health Care

Senator Ben Nelson's decision to back the healthcare legislation in the Senate has drawn reaction across the country and from Nebraskans

On Monday, Governor Dave Heineman spoke about Senator Nelson's decision..

When Senator Nelson chose to vote in favor of the current healthcare legislation, democrats struck a deal with the senator and gave Nebraska federal funding for Medicaid.

It's a move that Governor Heineman says is unfair to the rest of the country.

Senator Nelson said he was trying to ease the budget burden in Nebraska, but the governor says a special deal for Nebraska is not the answer he was looking for.

He says, “I am surprised by how this has been handled.  I wrote to Senator Nelson and Senator Johanns and our congressional delegation about my concerns about unfunded mandates that states couldn't afford.  All states, not just Nebraska.  I thought it would be addressed in a fair and equal way.”

Senator Nelson said on Monday that he's addressed the governor's concern.  “I've written him and said, 'look, if you don't want it, we'll take it out in conference, but the point is, I brought it up to [Senate Majority Leader] Reid.  Not to get a special deal, but to get something I thought was important and that is something for the states so they don't have to go through these federal unfunded mandates.”

The governor says even without the controversial Medicaid exemption, the bill is not one he supports.

The senate is expected to vote again on cloture Tuesday morning and hopes to have final vote on Christmas Eve.

Governor Heineman has asked Senator Nelson to vote “no.”  Senator Nelson has said if the bill stays in its current form, he'll support it.