The bill changed. The result didn’t.
The sponsor of the bill to expand Medicaid reflected on the loss with reporters after supporters failed to overcome a filibuster.
Supporters fell six votes short of the total needed to end the filibuster and bring the bill to a vote. After eight hours of debate that spanned Tuesday and Wednesday, Sen. Kathy Campbell of Lincoln, sponsor of LB 887, made a cloture motion; a motion to cut off debate and bring the bill to a vote.
The legislature voted 27-21-1 on Campbell’s motion, falling short of the 33 needed to end the filibuster opponents mounted against her bill.
Campbell found herself in the similar position to the one she was in last year when a similar measure met a similar fate. That, despite the fact that Campbell changed the bill to address some of the concerned expressed by opponents during the last legislative session.
We asked Campbell if it surprised her that though she changed the bill, it gained no more votes this year.
“Yes. The short answer: yes, I was surprised,” Campbell said. “Because, much of our initial research and study and development of the framework was built on the questions that we had been asked by senators. So, I was somewhat surprised at that.”
Campbell said she would continue to press for Nebraska to expand its Medicaid program. The bill would have extended Medicaid to those making up to 133% of the federal poverty level, approximately 54,000 Nebraska residents. Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government would pay the full cost of expansion for three years and 90% in subsequent years.
Campbell said she plans to speak with whoever wins the governor’s race this year as well as the 17 new senators coming to the Unicameral next year to see if she can fashion a Medicaid expansion bill that can be passed by the legislature and signed by the governor.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:40]