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Gale certifies Nebraska Medicaid expansion ballot petition

(KOLNKGIN)
Published: Aug. 24, 2018 at 1:22 PM CDT
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Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale says enough valid signatures have been submitted to put a proposal to expand Medicaid on the November general election ballot.

“After careful review by our counties, I can confirm that the statutory requirements for valid signatures have been met,” Gale said. “The measure will be placed on the 2018 general election ballot, barring an order from the district court handling the pending lawsuit that challenges the initiative petition.”

Gale said in a statement Friday that 104,477 valid signatures were certified by his office. The effort needed at least 84,269 to make it onto the ballot.

Additionally, organizers were required to gather signatures from at least 5 percent of the registered voters in 38 of Nebraska's 93 counties. Gale says that margin was met in 47 counties.

“Certified letters will be mailed to the sponsors, notifying them as to the results of the petition campaign,” added Gale.

Gale went on to explain that the next steps in the process would be announced by his office at a later date. “We will schedule dates for a public hearing to be held in each of the three congressional districts as well as produce a brochure about the initiative that will be distributed to each of the county election offices.”

A Lancaster County District Court is currently weighing a decision in a lawsuit brought by one current and one former state lawmaker who are seeking to block the proposal from the November ballot.

Information about the Medicaid expansion petition may be found on the Secretary of State’s website at:

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Today, Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale has confirmed that the statutory requirements for valid signatures have been met to place Medicaid expansion on the 2018 general election ballot.

Insure the Good Life issued the following statement in response:

“The importance of closing the health care coverage gap for 90,000 hard-working Nebraskans is reflected in the overwhelming success of the Medicaid expansion initiative petition. Now that the initiative is certified and headed to the ballot, we believe that the people will vote in support of bringing $1.1 billion of our hard-earned tax dollars home from Washington D.C. and put it to work in our communities. Medicaid expansion will boost our economy, create jobs, and make our families healthier.

“On behalf of the many people who work hard, struggle to make ends meet, and have jobs that don’t come with health care insurance, we thank everyone who signed the petition to put this issue in the hands of the voters.”

Regarding the pending lawsuit challenging the initiative petition, Meg Mandy, campaign manager for Insure the Good life stated, “The people of Nebraska have well exceeded the requirements to place this issue on the November ballot and they should get their opportunity to vote on it. We feel strongly that we will prevail in the lawsuit. Nebraska courts have a long history of upholding the rights of the voters to decide on ballot measures that meet all of the statutory obligations, which is what Secretary of State John Gale has confirmed today.”

If passed, the measure would cover more than 90,000 hard-working Nebraskans. These are individuals working at jobs that come without health care coverage and earn less than $17,000 a year. It will create and sustain 10,000 new jobs, reduce medical bankruptcies, bring $1.1 billion of Nebraskans’ tax dollars back from Washington, DC, and produce significant savings by reducing uncompensated care for those who lack health coverage, helping to keep the doors of hospitals and clinics across the state open.[1] In states that previously expanded Medicaid, studies also show increased economic activity as a result.

The measure would help residents in every part of the state, including rural areas where Nebraskans face longer travel times, limited availability of healthcare facilities, and limited financial resources. In addition, most jobs in rural and small-town Nebraska are provided through small businesses, less than 20 percent of which offer health insurance coverage for employees.

Insure the Good Life is made up of local health care stakeholders, organizations, and everyday Nebraskans who want Nebraska voters to have the choice of a healthier future. The members of the ballot committee are: Amanda Gershon (Lincoln), Kathy Campbell (former Nebraska State Senator, Lincoln), and Dr. Rowen Zetterman (Omaha).

Organizations endorsing Insure the Good Life include: AARP Nebraska, ACLU of Nebraska, Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska, Center for Rural Affairs, Children and Family Coalition of Nebraska, Community Action of Nebraska, Inc., Friends of Public Health, Health Center Association of Nebraska, Heartland Workers Center, League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha, League of Women Voters of Nebraska, Multicultural Coalition of Grand Island, National Council of Jewish Women – Nebraska, Nebraska AFL-CIO, Nebraska AIDS Project, Nebraska Appleseed, Nebraska Association of Behavioral Health Organizations, Nebraska Association of Local Health Directors, Nebraska Chapter - National Association of Social Workers, Nebraska Hospital Association, Nebraska State Education Association, Omaha Together One Community, and Voices for Children in Nebraska.