Legislation to Expand Medicaid in Neb. Fails to Advance Out of Legislature


A proposal to expand health care coverage to Nebraskans who fall in a so-called "coverage gap" isn't likely to make it out of the Legislature this year.

Lawmakers lacked enough support to bring the Wellness in Nebraska Act to a vote after eight hours of debate over two days. And with the majority of the session past, it is not likely the bill will be taken up again in this legislative session.

The measure laid out a plan to help cover health care costs for about 54,000 residents through a combination of Medicaid and subsidized private health insurance. Those 54,000 Nebraskans do not currently qualify for Medicaid or federal subsidies to help attain private insurance through the new health care marketplace.

The legislation would have cost an estimated $62 million between July of this year and June 2020.

Opponents said it would have diverted money away from other priorities and questioned what would happen if the federal government did not deliver on its promises.

But supporters argued that the proposal would have helped rural hospitals and working Nebraskans.