Buried in Senate Republicans' new health care bill is a provision to throw about $1 billion at states where premiums run 75 percent higher than the national average.
Curiously, there's just one state that meets this seemingly arbitrary designation: Alaska.
That state also just so happens to be represented by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a crucial Republican swing vote who has spent months threatening to torpedo the entire Obamacare repeal effort over her concerns about Medicaid cuts.
Nobody believes this special fund was created to give Alaska alone a big boost through sheer coincidence. Reporters on the Hill have taken to calling the carve-out to help Alaskans the "Polar Payoff," the "Kodiak Kickback," and even the "Juneau Jackpot" — a special gift to the state, inserted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to win Murkowski's vote.
"They really, really, really need Lisa Murkowski to vote for this, and they're thinking this may help," said Timothy Jost, a health care expert and a professor emeritus at Washington and Lee University.
The big question right now is whether the approximately $1 billion in additional health spending for Alaska will be enough to win over Murkowski to a bill that would gut Medicaid and result in about $1 trillion less health spending for America overall.