Rural Nebraskans Stand Up for Transitional Health Care Bill - Citizens lobby at Unicameral to support LB 1032
Lyons, NE - Today, Wednesday, February 24th, the Center for Rural Affairs and Nebraska Appleseed co-hosted a lobby day in Lincoln to show support for LB 1032, the Transitional Health Insurance Program (T-HIP) Act. This bill will provide 77,000 hard-working Nebraskans access to health insurance.
“Nothing is more rewarding than helping rural and small town Nebraskans meet with their Senators and discuss issues that impact their lives and their communities,” said Traci Bruckner, Senior Policy Associate for the Center for Rural Affairs. “And at such a crucial moment in this debate, having so many people here, making a difference in how Senators view this issue, is especially inspiring.”
Bruckner also pointed out that nearly 80 people traveled to the state Capital today to stand up for 77,000 Nebraskans without affordable access to healthcare, to lobby their Senators, and to urge them to stand with them in support of LB 1032.
“Helping people who cannot afford health insurance stand up for themselves, their families and their communities is particularly rewarding and it should make a significant difference in the outcome of this debate,” Bruckner continued.
“Moreover, the people here today who live in the Medicaid Gap every day were able to lobby alongside medical providers, hospital administrators and others, all of whom were fighting for a better healthcare system for all Nebraskans. That made for a powerful statement as well,” Bruckner added.
A 2015 University of Nebraska at Kearney study demonstrated that if no action to expand Medicaid coverage is taken, Nebraska hospitals will face nearly $500 million in uncompensated care by 2020. These costs fall particularly hard on smaller rural hospitals in our state. And the same study showed that expanding coverage to these uninsured Nebraskans would support the creation of nearly 11,000 jobs in the state.
According to the Center for Rural Affairs research, Nebraskans who would gain coverage under this proposal are [currently] trapped. More than 70 percent of them are working, but their jobs either provide no health insurance or the insurance provided is not affordable. Their income is too high to qualify for traditional Medicaid but too low to qualify for tax credits at healthcare.gov. For those individuals who are not fully employed, the bill also provides for referrals to job training and job placement services, as well as health coverage.
“These aren’t just statistics, these are our friends and neighbors, and they need our help,” concluded Bruckner.
Photos from the day are available here: https://flic.kr/s/aHskuWn1Ae.
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