Nebraska lawmakers study Medicaid expansion

By: Hannah Paczkowski

 The Affordable Care Act is going into full affect next year and state senators say there are still a lot of questions.

“One of the major questions that I have been asked is, 'are we back to square one with Medicaid expansion?' And I would say, 'not hardly',” Senator Kathy Campbell said.

Lawmakers announced their kick-off for a study of Medicaid expansion. The expansion would provide health insurance to more than 50-thousand Nebraskans if approved.

The study will look at the economic impact across the state and getting health care to those who may not be able to afford it.

“This effort is not about numbers and money, but about our neighbors, and our friends, and relatives who need healthcare,” Campbell said.

An effort also made by health care officials to educate senators.

“As we visit with senators, decision makers across the state, we'll be working on education, so that they have a better understanding about how health care is delivered and financed,” Vice President of Advocacy for Nebraska Hospital Association Bruce Rieker said.

Though Nebraska lost its chance for full federal funding for Medicaid expansion in 2014, Campbell believes the study will help the state in the future.

“Medicaid expansion still is the right option and affords the best opportunity to serve 54 thousand uninsured Nebraskans,” she said.

An opportunity that will create jobs and additional tax revenue for the state.

Campbell introduced a bill this year that would have expanded health care to thousands of uninsured adults. Though it was not passed for 2014, if all goes according to plan, her bill may receive full federal funding in 2015.