Downside to Medicaid expansion
With all due respect to those who support Medicaid expansion, let me explain why LB577 will not provide the "good" that it promises, and will actually cause harm to the state and those it claims will be helped by it:
In the summer of 2012, by a 7-2 vote, the United States Supreme Court held that Obamacare violated the Constitution by forcing states to radically expand Medicaid. Instead, states must decide for themselves whether to participate in Medicaid expansion. The Nebraska Legislature should oppose this expansion.
Nebraska is already expecting a significant increase in the number of people enrolled in its current Medicaid program as a result of Obamacare. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) projects that an additional 48,000 people will sign up for Medicaid by 2020 at a total cost of more than $770 million. Nebraska will foot more than 40 percent of the bill.
If Nebraska adopts Medicaid expansion, DHHS projects that 95,000 people would sign up for the program by 2020. The relatively small number of providers who currently serve Medicaid patients would be even more overwhelmed. Many new enrollees would seek more undercompensated care from hospital emergency rooms. Indeed, when Massachusetts adopted mandatory health insurance in 2006, state emergency room visits rose by 7 percent, reducing access to emergency care for the most vulnerable.
By forgoing Medicaid expansion, Nebraska will save the federal government about $2.6 billion in new spending over the next six years, allowing more of our tax dollars to mend our $16 trillion national debt.
The Nebraska Legislature should oppose LB577 and instead follow other states like Arkansas, Florida, and Ohio by considering more creative alternatives to better help those most in need.