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Recent posts by Jordan Rasmussen

Health care coverage for half million to be decided this November

This November, voters in Idaho, Nebraska, Montana, and Utah will decide whether to extend health insurance coverage to a combined half million hardworking, low-income Americans. These people fall into the coverage gap – meaning they earn too little to qualify for subsidies to purchase coverage from the insurance marketplace and too much to be eligible for Medicaid.

Rural Nebraska’s stake in Medicaid expansion

Rural Nebraskans are at a distinct disadvantage in their ability to access health care coverage. Combined with the limited availability of health care providers and facilities, this disadvantage grows as consideration is given to the socioeconomics of health care access. Rural populations are older, have fewer financial resources and have more health concerns than the general population.

Rural voters help carry Medicaid expansion to the ballot

Nebraska is set to be the fourth state in the nation where Medicaid expansion will appear on the November ballot. This comes following months of signature collection and validation, and the dismissal of a lawsuit against the initiative. The state joins Idaho, Utah, and Montana (where expansion will sunset) in allowing voters to decide on the future of health care coverage access for thousands of their neighbors. If passed in all four states, an estimated half-million low income residents would gain coverage.

Petition drive underway to expand Medicaid

Nebraska is seeking to join 32 other states and the District of Columbia in expanding Medicaid. A petition drive is underway to pose the question to voters in the November general election.

The Midwest state is following Maine’s lead. In November 2017, Maine was the first state to expand Medicaid by ballot box, passing with 59 percent approval. The circumstances surrounding Maine’s referendum mirror concerns in Nebraska with similar rural and aging populations and ardent opposition to expansion from the executive branch.

States take expanded health care coverage to the ballot

Recently, Utahns surpassed the threshold of signature collection to place Medicaid expansion on the November ballot. Idaho is following close behind. The residents of these rural states seek to extend access to coverage that has been denied by their state governments. If passed in November, health care coverage will be made available to those who earn less than $17,000 annually for a single family household.

Similar ballot initiatives are underway in Nebraska and Montana, where citizens of each state seek to re-authorize the Medicaid expansion set to expire in 2019.

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