Study says Medicaid expansion is bad for Nebraska - News, Weather and Sports for Lincoln, NE; KLKNTV.com

Study says Medicaid expansion is bad for Nebraska

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By: Sabrina Ahmed
SAhmed@klkntv.com 

Medicaid expansion is a big topic here in Nebraska, and one of the biggest concerns is how much it's going to cost.

A study released today says Medicaid expansion will cost the state, and the benefits won't outweigh the price.  But some supporters of expanding it say this isn't true, and the bill goes way beyond just the cost.

"It's about the people. You didn't hear one word about the people this is going to affect," Senator Bob Krist said.

Senator Krist is one of the legislators who disagrees with this new information. 

The policy study, released by the nonpartisan Platte Institute for Economic Research says other states who tried to enact their own expansion didn't see benefits.

"The economic realities of those states that expanded on their own—the costs were higher than projected, the population was higher than expected, and the number of uninsured cases was not dramatically reduced," Executive Director Jim Vokal said.

Right now, there's a bill in the legislature that would let Nebraska manage Medicaid expansion.  The Governor has said, he wants the federal government to take complete control. 

In the states referred to in the study, the author says there was no federal assistance.  The Platte Institute says it's likely Nebraska won't get matching contributions the federal government is promising now.

Senator Jeremy Nordquist says this isn't the reputation our government has with Medicaid, and it's not the President's plan either.

"President Obama has said point blank—this funding is not on the table for any budget discussion as long as he's president," Senator Nordquist said.

Opponents of Medicaid extension say this will hurt our state's economy.  They say many citizens eligible for private insurance would use Medicaid and possibly take advantage of the system.

"We don't have enough doctors, we don't have enough money.  we pre–into medicaid program that hasn't worked very well in the country," Senator Bill Kintner said.

But supporters of expansion disagree.  The federal funds available would dramatically help pay for this.  The 60,000 uninsured Nebraskans, 5,000 of who are veterans, would have more access to better healthcare.

"Fine, they're just going to show up in the emergency room when their chronic conditions get worse or they have an emergency condition and we all pay for it we all know we all pay for it through a hidden tax and our insurance premiums," Senator Jeremy Nordquist said.

Keep in mind, this was just an economic analysis.  We'll keep you updated on the bill that would make Nebraska in charge of Medicaid expansion.

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