Health Reform Good for Nebraska

Some critics of health care reform do not understand the value of making health insurance affordable, nor the cost of getting the job done.
Nebraska is challenging the new health care law in court - and as part of that challenge the state commissioned a report on the cost of expanded Medicaid coverage.  As might be expected, the conclusions are more reflective of political posturing than actuarial data.

Health reform will expand Medicaid for low-income working Nebraskans. A family of four will be eligible if their income is less than $29,300.  However, the federal government will pay more than 90% of the cost of this expansion, making Nebraska's share around $155 million for the first six years.  

The state's report says the cost will be between $387 million and $573 million for the same period.  But it overestimates the number of new people who will enroll, fails to account for new cost-savings and ignores today's cost of providing care for the uninsured.

A more realistic outlook projects Nebraska's share of Medicaid spending will rise 1.5% to 2.2% and about 100,000 more people will gain coverage.  More than half of these families live in rural Nebraska where incomes are lower and more people go without insurance.

Without reform, insurance costs threatened to undermine the foundation of our economy. Another decade of increases similar to recent years would more than double insurance premiums.

Nebraska families cannot bear that, and the American economy cannot sustain it. Health reform begins to fix it.