Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:
The Mayo Clinic, praised by President Obama as a national model for efficient health care, has stopped accepting Medicare patients at one of its Arizona facilities.
Bloomberg reports more than 3,000 patients eligible for Medicare will be forced to pay cash if they want to continue seeing their doctors at the Mayo Glendale Clinic.
The Mayo organization says it lost $840 million last year on Medicare and that the program's payments only cover about 50 percent of its costs. Mayo Clinic spokesman Michael Yardley says Mayo will assess the Glendale decision to "see if it could have implications beyond Arizona."
Who Let the Dogs Out?
Nebraska Democratic Senator Ben Nelson has asked South Carolina Republican Attorney General Henry McMaster to forgo legal action against the Senate health care reform bill. McMaster is the leader of a group of 13 Republican attorneys general trying to defeat a provision exempting Nebraska from having to pay for coverage of new Medicaid enrollees.
Politico reports Nelson asked that McMaster, "call off the dogs." Nelson reportedly said he had not asked for the so-called "cornhusker kickback" to be placed in the Senate bill, but that it was inserted as a marker so that Medicaid reimbursement would go to every state.
But the Senate Democratic leadership has made no mention of a plan to expand Nebraska's deal to the remaining states; a move that would greatly increase the cost of the final bill.
Democrats and liberal bloggers are on the attack. Their target: Independent pollster Scott Rasmussen. Multiple blogs charge that Rasmussen's surveys are flawed at best and biased at worst. Eric Boehlert from Media Matters calls Rasmussen Reports the "GOP's favorite polling firm," saying it, "seems to have a patent on asking really dumb — and misleading — polling questions designed solely to generate dubious 'buzz.'"
One blogger at Examiner.com writes Rasmussen polls are the most unreliable, intellectually dishonest and completely worthless.
Rasmussen tells Politico the criticism amounts to shooting the messenger. He argues he was among the first pollsters to show candidate Obama narrowing the gap with Hillary Clinton during the campaign. After the election, a progressive Web site said Rasmussen had the third-highest mark for accuracy in predicting the outcome of the 2008 presidential primaries. And his last general election poll came within tenths of a point of the final result.
— Fox News Channel's Lanna Britt contributed to this report.
Bret Baier is the Chief Political Anchor of Fox News Channel, and the Anchor & Executive Editor of "Special Report with Bret Baier.” His book, "Three Days in January: Dwight Eisenhower’s Final Mission," (William Morrow) is on sale now.