A state senator who succeeded in amending a bill seeking to use Medicaid dollars for family planning insists he’s not trying to amend the bill to death.
The bill, LB 540, would instruct the state to request a waiver from the federal government to allow Nebraska to use Medicaid funding to pay for family planning services. Health and Human Services Committee Chairwoman, Sen. Kathy Campbell of Lincoln, brought the bill to the floor of the Unicameral. Campbell explained that such waivers have been used in 29 states and that Minnesota has reported a significant drop in the number of abortions since it received the waiver. Campbell estimated that the state would save $4 for every $1 spent on family planning.
Under the proposal, the state would fund a 10% match, receiving 90% from the federal government. As many as 26,000 Nebraska women would be eligible for the services at $198 per recipient. Total cost of the program in FY 2014 is projected at $515,000 to the state, with the federal government chipping in $4.6 million.
Sen. Tony Fulton offered an amendment that would prohibit any state tax dollars from flowing to anyone that provides or promotes abortions. It passed. Sen. Brenda Council of Omaha reacted by calling the amended bill a sham.
He says though he still doesn’t support the bills, he doesn’t oppose Medicaid dollars funding family planning.
“I’m willing to allow for that, but I don’t think it should be used for providing or promoting or have anything to do with abortion,” Fulton says.
Fulton denies he added the amendment to kill the bill. He says there are other methods he could use if he wanted to kill. The bill advanced with the amendment attached.
Campbell says she doesn’t believe the amendment kills the bill.
“I’m not sure that it dooms it,” Campbell says. “I’m not convinced of that.”
Campbell says she’s trying to broker a compromise to guide the bill through the legislative process.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]