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      Committee Advances Bill to Expand Medicaid in Nebraska

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      A bill to expand Medicaid as part of the federal health care law has been sent to the full Legislature for debate after committee members voted 5 to 1 Monday to advance the bill.

      The "Wellness in Nebraska Act," is a new version of a Medicaid-expansion proposal that was introduced after a different expansion bill stalled in the Legislature last year. The rewritten proposal makes use of private insurance, cost-sharing and wellness incentives.

      Gov. Dave Heineman and a group of conservative state senators say they're still opposed to expanded Medicaid, but several community groups voiced their support following the vote.

      The Center for Rural Affairs said Monday this bill is crucial for thousands of Nebraskans who fall in the coverage gap between qualifying for Medicaid and tax credits offered to offset insurance costs through the marketplace.

      "For the health andwell-being of Nebraska's people, we urge the passage of LB 887," said JonBailey, director of Rural Research and Analysis at the center.

      "LB 887 will allowthose in the coverage gap to become responsible health care consumers livinghealthier lives," he added.

      AARP Nebraska added their support as well, asking the full Legislature to follow the committee's lead and pass the expansion bill.

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