Governor Heineman talks health care

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By Tim McNicholas

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Updated: Thu, 26 Sep 2013 07:14:28 CST

You've probably heard it a million times: an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

But keeping the doctor away can help keep insurance rates low.

"Fewer hospital visits. Fewer doctor visits. Fewer prescription drugs,” said Gov. Dave Heineman. “It does make a real difference.”

Heineman spent his afternoon in Kearney presenting awards to organizations that advocate safety and wellness.

He says the president has focused on accessibility throughout the healthcare debate.

But the governor says real impact starts with personal wellness.

"Employees win. When they're healthier, they feel better. And employers win because their employees are healthier. They're more productive at work."

Mary Lanning Healthcare, Blessing Construction, and the City of Kearney. Just a few of the organizations from from across the state that received awards.

And with the marketplace opening up in less than a week, health care was a hot topic.

"As we look at health care costs just in general, we know that they're going up,” Mick Anderson said.

Anderson is the executive director of Great Plains Safety and Health.

“If our workplace and our workforce is healthier it's going to reduce the cost of that,” he said.

The governor says Nebraska insurance claims are down 4 million dollars in the last 3 years.

But he has a sense of uncertainty heading into the marketplace opening day.

Like most states, Nebraska has opted out of state–run health insurance.

State–run insurance could have been 450 million dollars more expensive.

"The federal government had total operational control so we didn't really have any control over what we were doing. So it didn't make sense for the state of Nebraska to do it,” Heineman said.

The governor will be in Minden tomorrow to welcome new additions to the Kearney County Hospital.

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