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      Religious Leaders Urge Lawmakers to Pass Wellness Act

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      A group of faith leaders have reachedout to lawmakers urging them to pass the Wellness Act.

      The Act would allow more low-incomeresidents to qualify for Medicaid or subsidized private health insurance. Morethan 100 faith groups signed a letter in support of the bill which lawmakersare expected to debate Tuesday.

      The bill would help an estimated 54,000Nebraskans enroll in health insurance by the middle of 2015.

      Many residents who would qualify havefallen into what some call the "coverage gap." That means their incomesare too high to qualify for Medicaid but too low to qualify for private subsidies,making it difficult for them to afford coverage.

      Governor Dave Heineman has said Medicaidexpenses would grow rapidly under the proposed bill and pull money away fromother priorities like education.

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