Nebraska lawmakers are introducing a bill to expand Medicaid coverage as part of the federal health care law, saying it would reduce long-term health care costs for the state, counties and hospitals while giving more residents access to preventative care.
Sen. Kathy Campbell of Lincoln unveiled the proposal Wednesday. The state estimates that expanded Medicaid would cover 117,000 to 159,000 residents by fiscal year 2016, when the program would be in full swing.
Sen. Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha says Nebraskans are already paying for the uninsured through the so-called "silent tax" of higher premiums. Nordquist says the bill would save Douglas and Lancaster counties millions of dollars for medical assistance programs, and Sarpy County an estimated $200,000.
Gov. Dave Heineman says expanded Medicaid would drain money from other state priorities.