State Senator expects Medicaid expansion, inheritance tax discussions to dominate 2013 session

Dec 4, 2012

A State Senator from Omaha says he’ll support legislation in the upcoming legislative session to expand Medicaid in Nebraska.

Senator Jeremy Nordquist’s comments came Friday following a legislative forum with Douglas County Commissioners.  He expects the inheritance tax and Affordable Care Act to be major issues in the upcoming legislative session.

Under the Affordable Care Act, states have to set up their own health insurance marketplace, participate in a federal one, or have a state-federal partnership. Governor Dave Heineman announced last month that Nebraska will participate in a federal exchange at a cost of $176 million.

Heineman says expanding Medicaid under the Act would be too costly. But Nordquist says legislation will be introduced in January to move forward with that expansion. Nordquist says it would save counties and the state money by providing care to more low-income Nebraskans.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government can’t withhold states’ current Medicaid funds if they choose not to expand the program. Governor Heineman says paying for Medicaid expansion would mean cuts to school funding, or tax increases. But Nordquist argues that it could actually save Douglas County $5 million to $6 million.