Gov. Pete Ricketts is pleased the Unicameral has rejected a measure to expand Medicaid.
Ricketts is adamantly opposed to expanding Medicaid, casting doubt on the federal government’s promise to pay 90% of the cost and adding he doubts supporters could craft a bill he would sign.
“I don’t know how you could come back with something that I can believe in,” Ricketts tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “You cannot rely on the federal government and therefore we’ve got to look for Nebraska-based solutions.”
Opponents of Medicaid expansion in the Unicameral effectively killed expansion after only three hours of debate Wednesday, tabling it for the remaining of this year’s legislative session.
Ricketts touts job training and funding community health care clinics as better options to help the approximately 77,000 Nebraskans not now covered by Medicaid and yet unable to afford private health insurance.
Ricketts rejects arguments that expanding the state Medicaid program would draw down billions in federal funding, which would stimulate the state economy. Ricketts claims Medicaid expansion would eventually become a drain on the state budget, pointing out that the current Medicaid program has grown from three percent of the state budget to 20%.
“And so if we would sign up for further unfunded liabilities, like this would be, that we don’t know how much it is going to cost that would take away from our ability to invest in roads, and education, and tax relief, and things we need to do to be able to grow our state.”
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:45]