Out of Nebraska comes potentially wonderful news for thousands of uninsured citizens of the State: a petition to vote on a referendum to expand Medicaid in the State has gained enough signatures to appear on the November ballot.
A petition that would put the question of whether to expand Medicaid to about 90,000 uninsured adult Nebraskans has enough certified signatures to put it on the Nov. 6 ballot, Secretary of State John Gale confirmed Friday.
County election officials completed their review of 136,791 signatures submitted for the petition to expand Medicaid eligibility, Gale said, and found state law requirements for valid signatures have been met.
“The measure will be placed on the 2018 general election ballot, barring an order from the district court handling the pending lawsuit that challenges the initiative petition,” Gale said.
Medicaid expansion could help thousands of uninsured Nebraskans afford health insurance.
They are proposing a new law that would expand Medicaid, as allowed under the federal Affordable Care Act, to cover an estimated 90,000 more Nebraskans.
Those covered would be single adults and couples without minor children, as well as parents and disabled people with incomes up to 138 percent of the poverty level.
Of course, because Medicaid Expansion is a part of Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, Republican Governors have been opposing it, purely for political reasons, even though it could help thousands of their State’s own citizens. The Republican Governor of Nebraska is no different:
The effort can expect to face opposition from Gov. Pete Ricketts, who has fought against previous Medicaid expansion measures.
“The governor opposes expanding Medicaid under Obamacare here in Nebraska, which would expose our state budget and Nebraska taxpayers to great risk,” Ricketts spokesman Taylor Gage said this week.
The excuse that it would expose the State budget to great risk is of course nonsense. Medicaid Expansion is funded 90% by the Federal Government. In fact, it helps the budgets of States that expand Medicaid because it brings millions or even billions of federal dollars into the State, which will help the insurance market for everyone in the State. And by eschewing the expansion, States that refuse the federal money for expansion are in effect subsidizing States that have expanded Medicaid. But, for Republican politicians, it’s still something to be fought, purely because it is an Obama policy. And fight it they will.
Two Nebraska Republican legislators have filed a lawsuit in an attempt to stop voters in the state from putting a Medicaid expansion initiative on the November general election ballot, questioning whether it meets legal requirements.
Yes, you read that correctly. Republican State Senators are suing to not allow the people of Nebraska to vote on what they want, proving again that Republican politicians really, really don’t like Democracy.
But on the ballot it will be. So vote in November Nebraska. Vote for Medicaid Expansion so thousands of uninsured Nebraskans can afford health insurance. Vote so federal money can help the insurance market of your State. Vote so you are no longer subsidizing States that have already expanded Medicaid. Then Vote against the ridiculous Republican politicians who don’t have your State’s best interests at heart.