Under Obamacare, the expanded Medicaid program would bring in at least $2.9 billion from the federal government by 2020, potentially financing more than 10,000 ongoing Nebraska jobs, according to a report from the UNMC Center for Health Policy.
However, without Medicaid expansion more than $1 billion in uncompensated care could be provided through 2019. Those costs would likely shift to individuals and employers in the form of higher insurance premiums.
Jobs, billions in additional revenue and lower insurance premiums for the currently insured are major issues that speak in favor of expanding Medicaid in Nebraska. Likewise, as many as 108,000 Nebraskans could be eligible to enroll in Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, offering them access to affordable health coverage they lack today.
Moreover, according to a recent Center for Rural Affairs report, approximately 16 percent of rural residents are covered by Medicaid. The importance of Medicaid is even more dramatic for rural children. Nearly 40 percent of rural residents 18 and younger are covered by Medicaid or the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Programs, compared to about a third of urban children.
Four major groups of individuals are particularly reliant on Medicaid for health care services, and all are disproportionately represented in rural areas – low-income disabled, low-income elderly, children and pregnant women. Medicaid provides a critical health care safety net for those rural residents most in need.
Expanding Medicaid is the right decision for Nebraskans, rural Nebraskans in particular.