Medicaid Expansion: What's next?

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Voters in Nebraska passed Medicaid Expansion, 53% to 47%, but state leaders aren't expecting it to take effect for a while.

When state Senators meet in January, it will be up to them to decide how to pay for that, and where the money will come from.

The expansion of Medicaid here in Nebraska comes with a $19 Million bill next year, and it goes up after that.

The Chair of the Legislature's Appropriations Committee tells 10/11 that even though voters passed Medicaid Expansion, the work is just beginning.

Priorities. That was a common word used by state leaders today when we spoke to them about how they are going to pay for the expansion.

"And that's going to have to fit in our budget along with all of our other priorities,” said Governor Pete Ricketts.

Starting in January 2020 when the Nebraska Hospital Association expects it to take effect.

The federal government will fund 90%,the state pays the other 10%.

Appropriations Committee Chairman John Stinner says the state needs to come up with $25.7 Million over the next three years.

"It's a matter of working through each individual department and agency, to see just where opportunities are,” said Chairman of Appropriations Committee, Senator John Stinner.

On Wednesday, Governor Ricketts stood by his previous statements, saying he won't raise taxes and there are tough choices they will have to make.

"That means there is going to be less money for other priorities, things like k-12 education, higher education, property tax relief, and potentially even roads,” said Ricketts.

"We've cut a lot in terms of agencies, and restoring those funding levels back to the agencies. Provider rates, restoring those back, to somewhere close to break even situations will become harder,” said Stinner.

Once they figure out where cuts will come from, it will be part of the proposed budget.

Senators will have to debate and vote on a final decision.

The Nebraska Hospital Association tells 10/11, Medicaid Expansion could go into effect as early as next July- but again they're expecting it won't happen until January of 2020.