Medicaid Expansion Proposal Said to be Ineffective

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LINCOLN, Neb. -- Medicaid helps low income Nebraskans get healthcare, but a new study released Wednesday says those who need it the most, won’t actually get help.

The Wellness in Nebraska plan (WIN) or LB 887 is a proposal to expand Medicaid eligibility.

According to the plan, the goal is to: “Protect the most vulnerable, promote personal responsibility, reduce uncompensated care and provide budget stability.”

However, the Platte Institute for Economic Research says expanding Medicaid would be a bad prescription for Nebraska.

“Nebraska’s Medicaid Expansion plan is likely to prove more expensive and create budget instability in upcoming years,” said CEO of Platte Institute, Jim Vokal.

Senator Jeremy Nordquist doesn’t agree with that assessment. Much of the debate is over money, and he says the proposal will be funded by the federal government.

“For the first three years, it will be 100 percent funded by the federal government,” said Nordquist.

Those opposed to the proposal, like Senator Ken Schilz say that financial support will not be enough.

“By the time you get to the point where you’ve changed that culture that they don’t have to use the ER in a crisis," said Schilz, "the cost may already be so far out that you may not be able to cover it."

As far as government support, Senator Bill Kintner says that it’s unrealistic to rely on a government that is already in debt.

“To think that the government is to fund this at 90 percent till I’m old, I think it's unrealistic. I don’t think it’s going to happen,” said Kintner.

But Nordquist says the numbers do add up for taxpayers, and it will actually save them money.

“People in states that don’t expand Medicaid, are going to pay 50 percent more on their premiums,” said Nordquist.