Gov. Pete Ricketts opposes expanding Medicaid to cover, as he puts it, able-bodied adults, though the governor does concede health care reform is needed.
“But, the solution is not to pass something that is going to take away from a program that is designed for the truly needy,” Ricketts tells Nebraska Radio Network. “We have to have health care reform at the federal level that is going to make it more affordable for able-bodied people to buy.”
Ricketts faults Initiative 427, as Medicaid expansion will appear on the ballot, for not containing a work requirement and, further, from preventing the Unicameral to attach a work requirement should the measure pass in November.
The governor says there are no cost controls and he points to other states, most notably Ohio, which have seen enrollment in expanded Medicaid exceed projections. Medicaid expansion supporters estimated nearly 90,000 low-income Nebraskans would benefit from expansion. Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government pays 90% of expansion.
After years of opposition from both former Gov. Dave Heineman and Gov. Ricketts as well as firm opposition in the Unicameral, supporters of expansion decided to go directly to the people.
Many state senators remain opposed.
Sen. Lou Ann Linehan of Elkhorn is among the state senators warning voters to consider its ramifications.
“The problem with Medicaid expansion is it’s a mandate,” Linehan tells Coby Mach on Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “Once you open that door, you cannot close it.”
Linehan and 10 other senators have written an editorial outlining their opposition. The senators argue expansion would remove the focus on Medicaid’s mission of helping people with disabilities, children, and pregnant women, shifting the focus to working-age adults without disabilities or children.
PDF of Medicaid-Expansion-Editorial
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [:50]