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Nebraska must search for ways to supplement Medicaid funds
Come next month Nebraska lawmakers will have to find a way to make up for lost funds in Medicaid. And with universal health care kicking in, in 2014 how will they do it?
Forty-four million dollars is what the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services needs.
Senator Gloor says it's a big chunk of their budget and the responsibility of the Legislature is to balance that budget. And this is just one piece.
Each state receives Medicaid funds based on its economic growth.
Compared to other states Nebraska is economically stable.
"Making up that $44 million will be a number that we have to plug in with everything else including how much education money will be used as an example? How much roads money do we think we'll be able to use? So we'll figure it all in and see what happens," said Gloor.
According to reports, to offset the projected loss from the federal government, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services has requested an additional $18.9 million in state aid for fiscal year 2014 and $24.8 million for 2015.
"The appropriations committee that's charged with this responsibility sits down and takes a look at all those numbers and tries to come back to us as the full body and say this is how we think we're going to make up for the shortfalls this is how we think we're going to spend the increased revenues if there are any," Gloor said.
But there's a downside.
"If we have a significant increase in the number of people who now qualify for some sort of health insurance in this case the states Medicaid insurance, do we have a system that can accommodate all the additional people that will come into it?" said Gloor.
Nebraska has the option of expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Healthcare Act.
If that's the route the state takes, the federal government has agreed to pick up a hundred percent of Medicaid expenditures for the first three years the law is in place.
Then it slowly works it way back to being the responsibility of the state the government may pay for it now but the state will pay for it in the future.
Legislators won't know specific budget plans until they dive into the 2013 January session.
Each state has to make a decision as to whether it's willing to expand eligibility to qualify for Medicaid.
The Governor is not in favor of expanding Medicaid. There are legislators working to introduce a bill to expand the Medicaid program due to the healthcare reform law.
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