Put People Above Politics

On February 24th, the Legislature’s Committee on Health and Human Services in Lincoln advanced LB 887 to the floor of the Senate. The Wellness In Nebraska bill would extend healthcare coverage to Nebraskans with incomes at or below 133% of the Federal Poverty Level.

The Unicameral should move forcefully to pass LB 887. Last year’s failure to approve similar legislation and implement the expansion of Medicaid allowed for under the Affordable Care Act has created a coverage gap that an estimated 33,000 Nebraskans have fallen into.

Currently we can do nothing to help those falling into that gap. They do not qualify for insurance marketplace tax credits because their incomes are, ironically, too low, making even the least expensive marketplace insurance options unaffordable to them.

When individuals in the gap call us, or come to our Affordable Care Act informational meetings, all we can do is tell them the truth and send them on their way disappointed, frustrated, and still uninsured.

Enacting a public policy of negligence leaving 33,000 people, including over 15,000 rural and small town Nebraskans, by the side of the road with no ability to resolve their healthcare needs is, quite simply, immoral.

After a year of waiting, the time has come to put aside petty partisan politics, close the coverage gap and provide working Nebraskans who fall into the coverage gap the opportunity to become better healthcare consumers living healthier lives. The time to pass LB 887 is now.