Ricketts repeats opposition to Nebraska Medicaid expansion

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts is reiterating his opposition to a Medicaid expansion bill set for debate in the Legislature.

The Republican governor said in his weekly column Monday that the bill would create an expensive burden for taxpayers, adding $158 million in expenses to the state budget.

Ricketts says Nebraska’s Medicaid program consumes $1.8 billion of the total budget to serve about 238,000 people annually. Instead of Medicaid expansion, he says Nebraska should focus on creating jobs that offer private coverage.

Supporters say the bill would provide cost savings for residents, including $1 billion in “silent taxes” that insured people pay through higher premiums and a reduction in medical-related bankruptcies.

Lawmakers are scheduled to begin debate Wednesday.

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