Battle Over Medicaid Expansion Rolls On

Senator Mike Gloor of Grand Island, a former hospital administrator, has thrown his weight behind bipartisan Bill 887. The benefits listed by Gloor included patient accountability, control of spending, patient-centered medical homes, responsibility for patient results, and a renewed focus on primary care.  Last year he opposed a different approach to expanding Medicaid in Nebraska under the Affordable Care Act. The new Medicaid expansion approach is unique to Nebraska. It places a major emphasis on personal responsibility. For example, a $75 co-payment is required of people who go to the emergency room for non-emergency health care.

Kerry Winterer, Nebraska's CEO of the Department of Health and Human Services, has spoken out about the affordability of Medicaid expansion in Nebraska. Winterer has articulated that the expansion would shift the burden to Nebraska taxpayers. She cited a third  party study that approximated the state and federal cost of Bill 887 through 2020 to be 3.4 billion dollars. The opposition also includes Governor Heineman.

54,000 Nebraskans, often the working poor who earn too much to qualify for regular Medicaid and too little to buy insurance coverage, continue to live without coverage. Currently, there is a hemorrhage of federal tax dollars being sent to other states that have expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. 100 percent of the Medicaid expansion cost would be covered by the federal government through 2016. Gradually the federal share would fall to 90 percent.

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This article should not be construed as legal advice. Situations are different and it’s impossible to provide legal advice for every situation without knowing the individual facts.