Various groups vow to keep fighting to expand Medicaid in Nebraska, despite a legislative defeat this session.
Nebraska Appleseed Executive Director Becky Gould addressed groups gathered in the Capitol Rotunda for a news conference.
“We’re here today to say that the vote last week was not the end of the conversation and all of us will continue to work for coverage for all Nebraskans until it becomes a reality,” Gould stated.
Supporters of expanding Medicaid failed to overcome a filibuster against it this year, once again. A similar measure met a similar fate last session.
Sen. Kathy Campbell of Lincoln, sponsor on LB 887, told the groups it was difficult to absorb the defeat.
“It is very hard to describe to all of you how disappointing it has been for all of the 54,000 people that we advocated for, to try to put a face on and to try to say, these folks, Nebraskans, hard-working people, need our help,” Campbell said.
Campbell sought to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, the federal health insurance law. It would have extended Medicaid coverage to Nebraskans making up to 133% of the federal poverty level, estimated to total 54,000.
One of the 54,000, Amanda Gershon of Lincoln, said that without Medicaid she cannot afford to buy health insurance.
“I’ve spent over a year trying to find a way to move forward with my health,” Gerhon stated during the news conference. “I don’t make enough for subsidies. I’ve looked at multiple insurance policies. They are far more affordable without charging more for pre-existing conditions, but without the subsidies I will spend over 70% of my annual income paying for the premiums and the deductible to get care.”
Others represented at the news conference include AARP Nebraska and the Nebraska Hospital Association.
AUDIO: News conference on Medicaid expansion. [20 min.]