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Machaela Cavanaugh

Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh

District 6

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January 3rd, 2024

Thank you for visiting my website. It is an honor to represent the people of the 6th legislative district in the Nebraska Unicameral Legislature.

You’ll find my contact information on the right side of this page, as well as a list of the bills I’ve introduced this session and the committees on which I serve. Please feel free to contact me and my staff about proposed legislation or any other issues you would like to address.

Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh

What is Happening?

Since March 2020, federal law has generally required states to keep most people with Medicaid enrolled in coverage regardless of changes – like a change in income – due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Federal law recently changed, and now, enrollees who no longer qualify for Medicaid or who do not complete their renewal may be terminated from coverage.


An estimated 40,000-80,000 Nebraska Medicaid enrollees will no longer be eligible and will be terminated from coverage, and the first possible terminations started in April 2023. Many others may not be aware that renewals are restarting, and failure to complete renewal paperwork or requests for information may lead to termination of coverage. DHHS has identified at least 145,000 Nebraskans that may be at risk of losing their coverage – this highlights that many more Nebraskans may be at risk of losing their coverage, even if they are still eligible for Medicaid.


Renewals Have Restarted

In March 2023, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) started evaluating whether Medicaid enrollees are eligible to continue to receive Medicaid coverage. DHHS is generally required to complete a full renewal of a Medicaid enrollee’s case before terminating Medicaid coverage. During this process, DHHS will be sending notices to current Medicaid enrollees and may be requesting information or explaining changes in coverage.


What Should Medicaid Enrollees Do?

  1. Update Contact Information with DHHS Now

    1. Online at

    2. By Phone at (855) 632-7633

    3. By Email at

    4. By Fax at (402) 742-2351

  2. Check Mail/Email and Watch for Communications from DHHS

  3. Complete Verification Requests and/or Medicaid Renewal Forms on time

  4. Contact Nebraska Appleseed with any issues or for further assistance at


Resources Available

    • The Nebraska Homeowner Assistance Fund (NHAF) has added assistance for past-due utilities and internet services, future payments for those with a deferred balance on their primary mortgage, and increased assistance for qualified homeowners from $30,000 to $40,000.
    • The program continues to assist with past-due mortgage payments, past-due real estate taxes, past-due homeowner association dues, past-due homeowners or flood insurance, and clearing liens from a homeowner’s property.
  • The Nebraska Homeowner Assistance Fund (NHAF) provides relief to pandemic-impacted homeowners that have experienced a COVID-19 related financial hardship that began or continued after January 21, 2020
  • Income limits apply
  • Learn more at 


Arbor Lodge Outing


Please follow the link to see their flyer.

The current care gap that excludes families that include children with severe disabilities has led to Nebraska having the 5th highest cost of services in the nation. We end up paying for the most expensive services.  This waiver will help us bring down the average cost of services from $63,000 per individual to a $12,000 cap.  It may look like new money but really this is just changing where we would spend the money — from emergency services that cost us on average over $130,000 per individual per year to ensuring these children get the proper early and preventative services in their home instead of in an emergency room.

I believe these changes will decrease the number of children currently on the waiting list for home and community-based services. It will also provide support to family caregivers, allowing them to remain in the workforce. Remaining in the workforce means the family and the state can benefit from the family caregivers’ private health insurance as a first payer, thereby lessening the demand on Medicaid. 

I introduced the bill last year. On general file, or first round of debate, the bill had good support. On select file, even though it was a committee priority bill and was already calculated into the budget, the bill was filibustered and failed to advance. This year, I gave the bill my personal priority to get it back on the agenda. After some negotiation and an amendment, LB 376 has advanced to final reading.

LB 251 and LB 1082 both expand opportunities for organ donation. Marigold is a young lady who is actively supporting the bills. In this photo, Ms. Helvey and Senator Machaela Cavanaugh share a few moments in the Capitol.

I would like to thank the many people who have contacted me in support of restoring the Mother’s Room. It has been very gratifying to hear the passionate voices of so many. I can’t thank you enough!

For those who may not know, I was instrumental in 2019, my first year at the Legislature, in getting a room set up for pregnant women and nursing moms to go to rest and to nurse a baby or pump breast milk. A former office on the second floor of the Capitol was remodeled with private donations to provide a sink, changing table and furnishings for mothers and babies.  At the time, I was a nursing my youngest child.

I recently learned from one of the nursing moms that works in the building that it is no longer available. When I investigated I found out it is now being used as an office again during the current stage of the heating and air conditioning upgrade. I was, and remain, outraged! That room was customized for a specific purpose with private donations! There are other options for the one person that needed an office.  In fact, I vacated my private office to be used for that person and I’ve now set up an office in a cubicle next to my staff.

Although the office assigned to me remains empty and the person remains in the Mother’s Room, the Chair of the Executive Board has informed the Legislature that it will be returned to use as a Mother’s Room as soon as possible. For now, the mamava pod on the first floor is an option but be aware, nursing moms, there is no way to wash your hands or wash the equipment so in my opinion is not adequate. If you have problems using the code (provided by staff at the info desk) or the app, Security has a key. Please let me know of any problems you encounter using the pod.


Yesterday the OIG for Child Welfare released a special report and recommendations on privatized child welfare services. Long story short – they recommend ending the contract and all privatization efforts. Here’s a link:

Redistricting information
September 13th, 2021

It’s that time of the decade again and while many are dividing perennials this fall, your state legislators are reshaping legislative districts. Redistricting can be complicated so I hope to make the process conceivable.

What Is It? Redistricting is the redrawing of congressional and legislative districts. It happens every 10 years based on the census. Redistricting determines where you vote and who’s on the ballot, and most importantly how our voices are heard.

Why Does It Happen?  To fulfill the premise of equal representation as the constitution requires by keeping districts as equal as possible in population. How and where district lines are drawn can shape communities’ ability to elect representatives of their choice.

Why It Matters? Redistricting can dramatically impact the fairness of our political process.This matters because if not careful, it could leave states vulnerable to gerrymandering. Unfair redistricting (or gerrymandering) has negative ramifications such as impacting racial fairness by diluting the power of minority voters and giving an unfair advantage to one political party in a certain district.

Redistricting in Nebraska: Our legislature’s return for a special session starting today is dedicated to redistricting. The past couple of weeks has included the Legislative Research Division organizing data from the Census Bureau and the Redistricting Committee preparing recommendations they will present in hearings in each Congressional district. District remapping also includes our U.S. House of Representative districts, regent districts for the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, the Nebraska Supreme Court, the Nebraska Public Service Commission and State Board of Education.

Hearings will be as follows:

Tuesday, September 14 at 1:30pm at Central Community College, 3134 W. Hwy 34, Room 555, Health Science Education Center, Grand Island, NE

Wednesday, September 15 at 9:00am at the Nebraska State Capitol Bldg. Room 1524, Lincoln

Thursday, September 16 at 10 a.m. at the Scott Conference Center, 6450 Pine St. in Omaha

The Redistricting Committee website that gives further information on procedures and how to comment is found at:

Support for UNL student safety
August 27th, 2021

Over the past two evenings, thousands of students have publicly shown their criticism of the University of Nebraska- Lincoln administration’s handling of sexual assault cases on campus, including a lack of support for survivors of sexual violence. It is clear that University leadership has already lost the trust of a significant portion of the student body on basic issues of safety on campus. We empathize with these students and their advocacy, and are deeply concerned that these issues have been of repeated public concern over the last several years.

Several Senators have written Chancellor Green. The full letter is linked below.


Senator Letter August 26, 2021

Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh

District 6
Room 1115
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2714
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