The Medicaid Redesign Act, LB 472, is critical for rural Nebraska. It’s intended to provide low-income working Nebraskans with health insurance. LB 472 would create a Nebraska-specific plan for cost-effective health care for the coverage gap population of about 54,000. It would create a Medicaid Redesign Task Force of members of the Nebraska Legislature and the executive branch to review the state’s Medicaid program and provide recommendations to improve quality, to innovate the program and to save costs.
Here are five reasons why rural Nebraska needs the Medicaid Redesign Act:
- Rural areas generally have higher rates of uninsured, so rural areas generally are more in need of coverage options.
- Rural areas generally have lower incomes, so a significant number of the coverage gap population reside in rural areas. We estimate that 20 to 25 percent of households in rural legislative districts have household incomes that would qualify them for LB 472 coverage.
- Rural hospitals are a necessary piece of the rural health care system and would benefit greatly from closing the coverage gap.
- Uninsured hospital admissions are down and unpaid hospital bills have decreased in states that approved and implemented expansion of their Medicaid programs. This helps us all by decreasing the hidden tax caused by the uninsured and unpaid medical expenses and is a part of our insurance premiums.
- Jobs cuts, reduced services, or in some cases closures have happened in rural hospitals in states where they did not expanded their Medicaid programs. This has happened due to financial challenges caused, in part, by not providing health insurance and compensation to providers for those in the coverage gap.
- Rural people generally have higher rates of nearly all conditions and diseases. As such, they generally need more medical care, but because of insurance and income issues often have less access to medical care, often paying the physical and financial price of delaying needed care. LB 472 and its ultimate coverage plan will allow those in the coverage gap to obtain the health care they need when they need it.
- LB 472 places an emphasis on real health care – making people healthier to help keep health care costs down.
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