Legislature looks at Medicaid expansion

Posted By: Jenn Hatcher

Dozens of people sat before the Nebraska legislatures, Health and Human Services committee Wednesday to share their views on Medicaid expansion.

The Medicaid Redesign Act, drafted by Senator Kathy Campbell, is a revision to the Wellness in Nebraska Act, which was struck down by the legislature last year. Campbell said, “The goal of LB 472 is to reduce the number of uninsured, low income Nebraskans, increase access to healthcare services and leverage available funding to redesign Medicaid to work better for Nebraskans.”

This year’s bill again aims to insure the 54,000 Nebraskan’s who fall into a coverage gap. Those people, for different reasons, don’t qualify for Medicaid or the subsidies through the health care market place.

Amanda Gershon, who suffers from multiple auto immune diseases, but can’t afford to seek treatment, was back to testify Wednesday. Gershon said, “It’s been another year of getting worse and not having answers and not having a way to take care of myself.”

Shelly Sedlak suffered a stoke five years ago, she says because she can’t get Medicaid, she gave up physical therapy and treatments that may help with her recovery. Sedlak told the committee, “Support the bill so Nebraskans like me can have our fair shake and try to get back on our feet.”

The Medicaid redesign act would be matched by federal dollars in full until 2016 and then the state would foot the full cost.

Opponents present, fear that federal money won’t materialize. Doug Kagan with the Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom said, “If the feds renege on this new pledge, state senators never would throw thousands of residents off the Medicaid system, thus yoking taxpayers with millions in annual bills.”

The bill still faces many hurdles, first the committee must send it to the floor.

Nebraska Appleseed is hosting a lobby day next week, in regards to Medicaid expansion.

Details are on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1408836379418462