California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says concessions made to Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson to win his vote on the health care overhaul bill were a rip-off for his state and is urging California lawmakers to vote against it. In an interview Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press, Schwarzenegger says giving extra Medicaid benefits to Nebraska to secure Nelson's vote, critical to Senate passage of the measure, was like buying a vote. In Sacramento, he says, “it is illegal to do that, to buy votes.”
Schwarzenegger was one of the few Republicans to express support for health care reform, but last week protested the deal that gave Nebraska more Medicaid money but not other states. Nelson said he is asking the Democratic leadership to extend to all states the extra Medicaid money Nebraska would receive under the bill. The House and Senate are now negotiating the final version.