A Democrat running for governor says things will look a lot different at the Capitol if he is elected.
Democrat Chuck Hassebrook of Lyons supports expanding Medicaid under the federal health insurance law.
“From my perspective, the filibuster that blocked the expansion of Medicaid really represents the triumph of partisan extremism over common sense,” Hassebrook tells Nebraska Radio Network.
Hassebrook contends two groups have been hurt, because the legislature blocked Medicaid expansion. He says the working poor who does not qualify for Medicaid and cannot afford private insurance continues to go without health insurance and he contends Nebraskans who have insurance pay higher premiums to cover the costs of the uninsured.
Hassebrook says he would have approached the issue differently than did Gov. Dave Heineman, who adamantly opposed Medicaid expansion and used his office to help block it. Supporters of expansion could not overcome a filibuster against it.
On prison reform, Hassebrook supports increasing divergence programs to ease over-crowding in Nebraska prisons, such as drug courts for non-violent drug offenders.
“We know that if we send someone to prison for a drug crime there is almost a 50% chance they re-offend,” according to Hassebrook. “If we send them to a drug court, there’s a 15% chance they re-offend and it costs about a third as much.”
Hassebrook also supports the proposed increase in the state minimum wage, saying the current minimum wage of $7.25 an hour has not kept up with inflation.
Hassebrook served on the University of Nebraska Board Of Regents for 18 years, and spent 36 years working at the Center for Rural Affairs in Lyons.