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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.

Public support to raise sales tax remains high

Nine years ago, voters approved a statewide ballot referendum to amend the Iowa Constitution to create the Natural Resource and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. Support remains strong for paying for the trust fund with a sales tax increase. A recent Des Moines Register poll indicated 65 percent of Iowans support a full cent sales tax increase to pay for a combination of water quality projects and mental health services.

Rural communities could use broadband to grow

Rural Nebraskans have finally got the attention of the Legislature in regard to broadband access. Legislative Bill 549, introduced by Sen. Tom Brandt of District 32, represents an important first step in expanding broadband to all areas of Nebraska. The bill aims to provide resources for an accurate mapping of current broadband service across the state, mapping that is long overdue.

Dear USDA: Here's our thoughts on farm bill implementation

The 2018 farm bill contains several important changes for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), the Risk Management Agency (RMA), and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and we thank Secretary Bill Northey for providing this opportunity to provide public comment on these changes. The below represents comments on farm bill implementation from the Center for Rural Affairs, but we hope that these comments are the beginning of a conversation with USDA about the 2018 farm bill rather than the end.

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