Currently the Nebraska Unicameral is discussing LB 577.
This bill defines and expands Nebraska Medicaid coverage. Taken at face value the Medicaid expansion is about providing medical coverage to people that could not afford it otherwise. If you dig deeper, and look at what’s really happening with the expansion it becomes a frightening power grab and a deterrent for people to create a better life for themselves.
First I would like to address the power grab by the federal government. When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was first introduced the states were up in arms about how they were going to fund such an expansion. The federal government calmed their fears by claiming they would be helping the states with federal money 100% decreasing to 90% by 2016. I’m not even going to address the fact that the money has to come from somewhere, and the funding was already reduced in the 2013 budget. The bigger concern is that once the states are dependent on the feds for funding it can be held as leverage on policies. An example is the federal funding for highways, anytime the states want to change drinking ages, helmet or seat belt laws, the feds threaten to remove their funding, and the states have to cave in. I could see something similar happening with Medicaid funding…”you better change your gun laws I’d hate to see you have your Medicaid funding cut”. Also entitlements do not go away easy, if the federal government cuts funding, the states will be in a mad scramble to cover the shortfall, lest they cut funding for Medicaid and face an angry and now insurance-less populace.
The other downside to the act is that it further makes people dependent on the state and federal governments. I am going to use the example of someone who is lower income and hard working. This person would be a single parent making around thirty thousand ($30,000) a year. Their job doesn’t supply health insurance so they are on Medicaid. They work hard at their job and start making more money, so their government benefits start dropping. They are making more money so they should be fine right? Wrong! They come to a point where they are at a “welfare cliff“, it is a grey area between thirty thousand ($30,000) and seventy thousand ($70,000) where the more you make the less will net, because your government support will decrease but your taxes increase. Now some people will take the jump and make it into that next bracket, but at face value it encourages people to stay where they are and not succeed. The lesson is the more you depend on government programs the higher that “cliff” gets. The Medicaid expansion tries to make this “cliff” into the Grand Canyon.
For people in the WNLP.org area below is the contact information for their state Senators:
Scotts Bluff County:
- Senator John Harms
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: (402) 471-2802
Banner, Box Butte (south and west of Alliance), Cheyenne, Kimball, Morrill, and Sioux Counties:
- Senator Ken Schilz
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Phone: (402) 471-2316
Box Butte (Alliance, north and east of Alliance) and Dawes Counties:
- Senator Al Davis
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: (402) 471-2628