New Nebraska Medicaid bill to offer ‘private option’

By GRANT SCHULTE
Associated Press

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ After three failed attempts to expand Medicaid under the federal health care law, Nebraska lawmakers will unveil a new proposal this week that would offer private coverage to low-income residents.

The bill is modeled after the so-called private option adopted by Arkansas, which received a federal waiver to spend Medicaid dollars on private insurance.

The plan by Sen. John McCollister of Omaha would cover an estimated 77,000 Nebraska residents whose incomes are too high to qualify for regular Medicaid but too low to receive tax subsidies available through the federal health insurance exchange.

It's expected to face opposition from Gov. Pete Ricketts and many lawmakers, who argue it's not sustainable. Ricketts spoke against Medicaid expansion in his State of the State address last week, calling it too risky for taxpayers.

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