On Feb 10, 2016, debate began in the Nebraska Unicameral over LB 1032, the Transitional Health Insurance Program. The Health and Human Services Committee conducted a hearing and took public testimony on the bill.
LB 1032, introduced by Senator John McCollister and co-sponsored by 15 other senators, would use the private health insurance market to help 77,000 working Nebraskans gain access to health care. Referred to as “premium assistance,” this approach enables families with too much income to qualify for traditional Medicaid coverage, but not enough to qualify for premium assistance tax credits, to purchase private market health insurance plans.
For three years our elected officials have put politics before people. Nebraska sat back as neighboring states experienced improved health outcomes by making healthcare accessible to the working poor. The Transitional Health Insurance Program is based on a proven model that will help rural Nebraska achieve the promise of its potential.
We urge the committee to advance this bill. You can see the Center's statement of support here.
An overwhelming number of the 77,000 Nebraskans without access to healthcare work in jobs that either do not offer insurance benefits or do not pay enough to allow workers to access insurance on their own.
With fewer than half of Nebraska’s small business employees employed by firms offering employer-sponsored health insurance, the majority of workers must pay premiums as well as other out-of-pocket costs for health insurance coverage. This crowds out other uses for discretionary income, harming the local economy.
Rural Nebraska’s economy is built almost exclusively on small businesses and their employees. This makes passage of the Transitional Health Insurance Program even more vital to rural and small town Nebraska.
Feature image: Lauren Kolojejchick-Kotch presented a supporter's testimony at the LB 1032 hearing. Photo courtesy of Jeff Sheldon, Nebraska Appleseed
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