Letter to the Editor

Medicaid expansion benefits hospital, economy, neighbors

Monday, October 29, 2018

Dear Editor,

Medical debt is the number one reason for personal bankruptcy in Nebraska. Bankruptcy ripples through the family and the community destroying lives and businesses. Court statistics show that expanding Medicaid reduces bankruptcy filings. According to the recent study from UNK, Medicaid expansion states are seeing generally robust economic growth and decreased bankruptcies. This evidence indicates, that along with other factors influencing the economy, Medicaid expansion is having an overall positive effect on the economies of states that have expanded Medicaid.

On the individual level, uninsured individuals cost the community, they do not seek preventative care, purchase needed medication and they delay medical visits, making their care more expensive. They overuse the emergency room since they do not use a family doctor and the uninsured are often unable to pay for healthcare creating billions of dollars in bad debt/charity care, putting financial pressure on hospitals and insurance premiums. Medicaid expansion addresses these problems.

In Nebraska, there are 90,000 people who would be covered our Medicaid expansion. Of these, 380 live in Red Willow County and about 1,500 live in legislative district 44. They work in lower paid jobs or part-time jobs without employer-provided health insurance. They work as healthcare support in nursing homes, home health care, food service and farm and ranch hands.

A vote to expand Medicaid is a vote to support our community hospital, our local economy and our neighbor who is uninsured.

Jayne Lyons

McCook, Ne.

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