Legislature Should Act on Health Care

A bill under consideration in Lincoln will help make health insurance more affordable for Nebraska’s middle class and self employed families. The legislation will create an online marketplace with quality coverage, where consumers can compare options and make their own health insurance choices.
For many families, federal tax credits, will bring down the cost of coverage. Beginning in 2014, this tax credit will reduce insurance premiums for middle income Nebraskans by a total of $720 million annually.

In today’s health insurance market, too many Nebraskans pay too much for too little coverage or simply go without. Nebraska farmer Jim Knopik understands the challenge. As a farmer, his only option is increasingly unaffordable coverage in the individual market.

The Nebraska Health Benefit Exchange Act (LB 835) will create a new marketplace where people like Jim can come together to buy more affordable insurance.

Small businesses will also benefit. Businesses with up to 25 employees and a median wage of less than $50,000 will be able to access a tax credit worth up to 50 percent of their share of the premiums.

And by coming together into larger pools to purchase insurance, individuals and small businesses will be treated more like large employers are now.

With 10 cosponsors, including both Democrats and Republicans, as well as support from both consumer advocates and medical provider groups, the bill deserves the support of the legislature and governor.

By acting this session, Nebraska’s Senators can finally bring fairness to the health insurance marketplace.