Nursing home residents on Medicaid would get a slight bump in their personal allowance under a bill advancing in the legislature.
State Sen. Colby Coash of Lincoln supported his move to raise the monthly allowance from $50 to $60 by telling colleagues it’s time to provide an increase.
“Think about the people who will come after us and what kind of position are we going to put them in where they will be asked to do something similar and it will be 500%, because we didn’t take a small step when we had the opportunity,” Coash told colleagues during legislative floor debate.
The original bill (LB 366) sponsored by Sen. Patty Pansing Brooks would have increased the monthly stipend to $75. Coash amended the bill to lower that increase to $60, lowering the cost to $1.2 million over the next two years.
Some legislators objected to spending the extra money, arguing that there are too many measures calling for small increases, which would undermine efforts to keep spending in check and pay for property tax relief.
Sen. Bill Kintner of Papillion says the Unicameral cannot afford to keep giving in to the emotional appeals sponsors of such legislation use.
“’Just $500,000; these people didn’t do anything wrong. They really need our help,’” Kintner stated advocates would plead. “You’ll hear that and your heart strings will get pulled. And then it goes on, and on, and on, and on. Now, I watched this my first two years. I watched this body go on a spending spree like I never thought I would see in this state.”
Other opponents argued that any increases to Medicaid recipients should go toward medical expenses, not for small, personal items.