November 27, 2014

State will hold public hearings on Health Insurance Exchange options (AUDIO)

Gov. Dave Heineman speaks during a news conference at the Capitol as Director of Insurance Bruce Ramge looks on

Gov. Dave Heineman announced today the state will hold informal public hearings on how Nebraska should proceed with the various Health Insurance Exchange options under provisions of the federal healthcare law.

“On several occasions I have discussed the state’s progress in planning and designing a Health Insurance Exchange Program, but we are not currently building an exchange program. That decision will be made later this year,” Heineman stated during a news conference at the Capitol.

Heineman announced the state will hold a series of public hearings to take input on building an exchange.

“In an effort to keep the process open and transparent and to keep the public informed, today we are announcing a series of informal public meetings regarding the state’s health insurance exchange options,” Heineman said.

Two days of hearings will be held in Lincoln, September 4th and the 6th.

Five other statewide meetings will be held throughout the state: on August 27th in Gering; August 28th in Kearney; August 30th in Nebraska City; September 10th in Omaha and September 12th in South Sioux City.

The two days of hearings scheduled for Lincoln will provide a number of groups both opposed and in favor of the federal healthcare law an opportunity to give testimony.

Heineman said he wanted to hear specifics from those groups.

“I want to emphasize, we have asked these stake holders to come prepared to discuss which exchange option they prefer, why and how they would fund it,” according to Heineman.

Heineman said two deadlines loom in regard to the Health Insurance Exchange. The governor said voters will send a strong signal about how they wish to proceed in the presidential and Congressional elections November 6th. If President Obama wins re-election, the healthcare law will move forward. If Republican challenger Mitt Romney wins election, the law will be placed in jeopardy. November 16th is the current deadline for the state to submit its proposal on a Health Insurance Exchange for Nebraska.

 AUDIO: Gov. Dave Heineman announces public hearings on building a Health Insurance Exchange. [6 min.]