Rural Health News

Expedient timeline for Medicaid expansion implementation needed

The deadline is fast approaching for the Department of Health and Human Services to complete the next step of implementation of Medicaid expansion in Nebraska. A state plan amendment is due to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services by April 1, 2019, as was set forth in ballot Initiative 427, and approved by voters last November.

Navigating stumbling blocks to Medicaid expansion

Last year, Nebraska voters passed a measure to expand Medicaid, but state officials are stumbling out of the gate to implement the plan. 

The move would bridge a health-coverage gap for 94,000 Nebraskans who don't earn enough to get subsidies for market-rate insurance, but earn too much to qualify for standard Medicaid. Valerie Bower is a registered nurse at Mary Lanning Healthcare in Hastings. She said expanding Medicaid also is critical for keeping hospital doors open.

Medicaid expansion is a win for rural health care

On Election Day, voters in Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah, approved the expansion of Medicaid. This expansion will extend health insurance coverage to more than 300,000 low-income residents. When implemented, no longer will residents earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level be left without insurance coverage because they earn too little to qualify for subsidies to purchase coverage from the insurance marketplace and too much to be eligible for Medicaid.

National Rural Health Day celebrates progress

Healthy rural residents help maintain and create vibrant rural communities. To achieve both, citizens, communities, and policy makers must recognize and address the unique health needs of the nation’s rural residents. National Rural Health Day, Nov. 15, 2018, is a day to celebrate the uniqueness of rural health care and those who innovate to help deliver equitable access and services.

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