Now that Nebraska has opted to join the federal health insurance exchange, a special interest group wants the state to move forward with implementing elements of the federal health care overhaul.
Nebraska Appleseed favored a state-run health insurance exchange, saying that a state-run exchange would be more able to address the specific needs of the state. Now that Gov. Dave Heineman has chosen to join the federal exchange, the group says it’s time for Nebraska to begin serious implementation of the federal health care law.
Jennifer Carter, the director of the Health Care Access Program of Nebraska Appleseed, says the health exchange needs to be consumer friendly and it needs to serve rural as well as metro Nebraska, understanding the distinct needs of the two regions.
Carter says Nebraska needs to take advantage of federal incentives to expand Medicaid as well.
“To us it’s an opportunity that we can’t pass up if we are serious about having healthy people, healthy workers, healthy economy,” Carter tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Gov. Heineman has stated repeatedly his strong opposition to expanding Medicaid. Though the federal law calls for the federal government to pay all the cost of expansion for the first three years and 90% of the costs thereafter, the governor views the offer skeptically, insisting that once put in place, the program will cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars.
Carter says that the legislature should review the issue and override the governor’s objections. She says that expansion of Medicaid will work in conjunction with the health insurance exchange to provide coverage for at least 78,000 uninsured Nebraskans.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:40]