Gov. Dave Heineman stands fast in his opposition to expanding Medicaid, even in the face of a University of Nebraska Medical Center study that claims expansion would benefit Nebraska economically.
The UNMC College of Public Health study estimates the number of uninsured Nebraskans would be cut in half and that the extra federal funding would generate at least $700 million in economic activity.
That is the sticking point.
Heineman simply doesn’t believe the federal government will stand by its promise to fund at least 90% of the cost of Medicaid expansion.
“I don’t agree with that study at all. I think that’s just another study, they’re trying to make a point, because they’re worried about losing certain funding,” Heineman says. “If you expand Medicaid, three or four years down the road, it’s going to cost the state of Nebraska hundreds of millions of dollars.”
Heineman says the federal government has broken its promises to states in the past.
The UNMC study was conducted by its policy arm, the Center for Health Policy. It projected that 90,021 to 108,025 Nebraskans would be added to the Medicaid rolls if expanded under provisions of the federal healthcare law. The cost of expansion would range from $140 million to $168 million from 2014 to 2020. The study expects the state to receive between $2.9 billion to $3.5 billion through 2020 in federal funding if it expands Medicaid.
Under the federal healthcare law, states may expand Medicaid to cover individuals making up to 133% of the federal poverty level. The federal government pays the entire cost of expansion the first three years, dropping down to 90% in later years.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]