Gov. Dave Heineman still opposes it.
A leading state senator still keeps pressing for it.
Medicaid expansion will return as a big issue in the upcoming legislative session.
Heineman hasn’t changed his mind. He flatly opposes expanding Medicaid under the federal health care law.
“This is Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion,” Heineman tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “The people of Nebraska don’t want it, don’t support Obamacare. And we can’t afford it and we can’t sustain it.”
Heineman has insisted that the state cannot afford any more Medicaid expenses. He calculates more money for Medicaid means less money for public schools and higher education. Heineman questions whether the federal government will fulfill its promise to completely fund expansion for the first three years and 90% thereafter.
Despite the stance of the governor, Sen. Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha vows to press on.
“There’s no doubt that we will go to a vote and likely that will have to be a cloture vote which takes 33 of our 49 members,” Nordquist tells Thomas on Drive Time Lincoln. “Sen. Campbell and I are both optimistic that working with our colleagues on these alternative approaches that we can get to that number.”
Sen. Kathy Campbell of Lincoln, chairwoman of the Health and Human Services Committee, has sponsored the Medicaid expansion bill. Supporters have not been able to overcome a filibuster, lacking the votes to invoke cloture.
Supporters are looking to other states which propose using Medicaid expansion money to purchase private insurance for low-income residents, approaches being proposed in Arkansas and Iowa.
Kevin Thomas, KLIN, contributed to this article.