Health, Fiscal Costs Cited in Medicaid Debate


LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- A proposal to extend health-care coverage to low-income Nebraskans is once again stirring debate among lawmakers.

Supporters argued Tuesday that a failure to pass the "Wellness in Nebraska Act" would hurt rural hospitals, lead more residents to postpone treatment and deprive Nebraska of $2.2 billion in tax dollars paid to the federal government.

Opponents say it will divert money away from other priorities, such as education. Lawmakers ended the day without a vote, but were expected to resume debate on Wednesday.

The proposal would help cover some 54,000 residents through a combination of Medicaid and subsidized private health insurance. It would cost an estimated $62 million between July of this year and June 2020.