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Nebraska lawmakers push for affordable health care
Several GOP governors are showing their support for the Obama Medicaid expansion to help close the gap for low income people.
While, Nebraska's Governor is not one of them, state lawmakers are trying to push it forward with legislation.
It means more people will receive affordable health care coverage under federal health care mandate.
Right now, Medicaid is available to eligible elderly, disabled people and low income pregnant women, children and parents.
Proponents of the bill say Nebraska will pay more later if the Medicaid expansion plan isn't adopted.
LB 577 would provide health care coverage to low income adults between the ages of 19 and 65, who don't have children. Senator Kathy Campbell of Lincoln introduced the bill.
12% of our population is uninsured. Do we say to this last group we the 88% have insurance, we are so sorry we cannot insure you?
The expansion would aim to fill gaps for the poorest Americans made possible through the Affordable Health Care Act. Disabled adults and people with children who make too much to qualify for Medicaid would also be covered under the bill.
"It's a good investment because Nebraskans need great health care and all Nebraskans need great access to great health care right now. We have a large number of uninsured patients - somewhere around 10-12 percent," said Dean of Creighton University School of Medicine Dr. Rowen Zetterman.
The expansion would affect 50,000 to 80,000 lives in Nebraska. Plus, the Medicaid expansion would be funded by the federal government 100% from 2014-2016, declining costs by 90% in federal coverage by 2020.
"We are incurring the costs for emergency room care, for unaddressed medical needs, the cost in uncompensated care provided by our hospitals and health care providers," said Campbell.
Senator Campbell calls it a way to invest in what the state is already spending.
"Even though we have a federal match paying 100% of the costs for the first three years to me this is the human cost," said Campbell.
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