December 22, 2014

State senator insists expanded Medicaid would save state money (AUDIO)

Sen. Jeremy Nordquist/Unicameral Information Office photo

A leading senator pushing for Nebraska to embrace the federal healthcare law and expand Medicaid insists that it would make financial sense.

Sen. Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha rejects Governor Heineman’s assessment of both the law and its incentive to expand Medicaid [see previous story]. Nordquist says the federal healthcare law allows Nebraska to extend healthcare to the working poor who are doing without.

“We are going to save the state money and it is going to be 90% funded by the federal government,” Nordquist tells Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “So, it’s a good deal for us. It gives us an opportunity to invest in prevention and primary health care for low-income, working families.”

Nordquist says the uninsured are at present a drain on the state economy.

“We will make investments in prevention and preventative care,” according to Nordquist. “Right now, our state spends hundreds of millions of dollars in uncompensated care at hospitals for the uninsured. By cutting that down, we are going to save the state money and it is going to be 90% funded by the federal government.”

The Supreme Court upheld the federal healthcare law’s constitutionality, but it ruled Congress cannot force states to expand Medicaid, leaving expansion optional.

AUDIO: Sen. Jeremy Nordquist on possible expansion of Medicaid in Nebraska. [:20]