A Nebraska resident who says the medical bills piled up when she took time to take care of her aging father urges state lawmakers to expand Medicaid.
Sarah Parker of Lincoln says she requested her company reduce her hours to free up time to better care for her father. Once the hours were reduced, employer-funded health insurance coverage ended.
Parker says she lost coverage to pay for needed prescription drugs as well.
“I have to pick and choose what medicine I take, because the health insurance isn’t there, the money isn’t there; one of 77,000. Think of that.”
Nebraska Appleseed says Parker represents the working poor who need the coverage that would be provided if Nebraska expands Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Supporters of expansion in the Unicameral have been unable to move a measure, despite pointing out the federal government pledges to pay 90% of the cost of expansion.
A new proposal, dubbed the Transitional Health Insurance Program Act, has been introduced this session. It hopes to overcome some of the opposition that has doomed Medicaid expansion in the past.
Parker says the loss of health insurance coverage has caused her a financial crisis.
“This past summer, unfortunately, I was hospitalized for eight days,” according to Parker. “I racked up some pretty substantial bills. It looks right now that the only way to get out from under those bills is to declare bankruptcy. Nobody should have to do that, nobody.”
The latest proposal would use Medicaid dollars to purchase private insurance for those covered under Medicaid expansion. Medicaid dollars could even be used to supplement employer-sponsored insurance coverage. Recipients would be required to pay 2% of their monthly income as an insurance premium.
“I know that this new transitional plan would ask me to pay for coverage,” Parkers says, “but I’m good with that. I don’t need an entitlement program, but I do need a little help, right now.”
The Transitional Health Insurance Program Act is LB 1032.