LB 472 crucial for Rural Nebraska - Center for Rural Affairs urges support for Medicaid Redesign Act

Release Date: 



Jon Bailey,, Phone: (402) 687-2103 ext. 1013

Lyons, NE -  Today, the Unicameral Committee on Health and Human Services advanced LB 472, the Medicaid Redesign Act, that will help create a Nebraska solution for the over 54,000 low-income, working Nebraskans who currently fall into the Medicaid coverage gap.

“It is fiscally and morally bankrupt to continue to allow so many working families to struggle to find ways to afford the health care coverage they need,” said Jon Bailey, Director of Rural Policy at the Center for Rural Affairs. “We applaud the Unicameral’s Health and Human Services Committee for advancing LB 472 to General File for consideration by the full Senate. And we urge all the members of the Senate to support the bill, for the sake of over 54,000 of our friends, family members and neighbors who are needlessly struggling to afford the health care coverage they need for their families.”

According to Bailey, there is currently no help that can be offered for Nebraskans that fall into the gap. They do not qualify for insurance marketplace tax credits because their incomes are too low. Consequently, even the least expensive insurance on the marketplace is generally unaffordable; and their employers do not provide health insurance.

It is worthy of note that Nebraska has already forfeited $400 million in federal Medicaid funds - tax dollars, paid in part by Nebraskans, that could have been used to provide affordable health care options for those 54,000 working Nebraskans, but instead those dollars were turned away, Bailey added.

“We can now offer another reason for our support of LB 472 - the Medicaid Redesign Act,” Bailey explained. “Recently, in conjunction with Nebraska Appleseed, we released a report,  LB 472 and Leveraging Federal Dollars to Reform Corrections, showing the benefits of a redesigned Medicaid program to our corrections program, our corrections population and the state’s taxpayers.”

Nebraska clearly has issues in its corrections programs that affect the state’s taxpayers and public safety. Just as clear is the connection between mental health and substance abuse treatment and criminal offenses and recidivism, Bailey offered. Our research shows that this connection can be addressed through mental health and substance abuse treatment to low-income people where needed and to offenders released from the corrections population or on parole or probation.

“And LB 472 can offer a bridge to those services as well, keeping hundreds of individuals released from incarceration from reoffending and returning to prison, and saving Nebraska taxpayers $11 million annually in the Department of Corrections budget,” Bailey added.

“LB 472 has much to contribute to Nebraska taxpayers, those in the coverage gap, and to rural and small town Nebraska in particular,” Bailey concluded. “It is simply immoral to enact a public policy of negligence that leaves over 54,000 people, including tens of thousands from rural areas and small towns, by the side of the road with no options and with the disappointment and frustration of being in the coverage gap. Most importantly, it is immoral to leave them without the ability to resolve their health care needs and without the tools to enhance their long-term health.”

“LB 472 will allow those in the coverage gap to become responsible health care consumers living healthier lives,” Bailey concluded. “There are no valid excuses for failing to adopt this bill. The time to act is now.”