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Senator Lydia Brasch and I attended the E15 Now bus at the Siouxland Ethanol business on September 26th. Siouxland Ethanol turns area corn into 85 million gallon of biofuels annually. Ethanol is a great fuel alternative for Nebraska citizens and Nebraska farmers alike, it’s great for our environment, it’s great for the consumer to have choices. I was happy to support taking steps to deregulating higher-octane blends so ethanol can be used throughout the whole year, not just three seasons.
On Sunday September 30th, Governor Ricketts held his second annual Nebraska Steak Fry. The event hosted Governor Greg Abbott of Texas, Governor Eric Holcomb of Indiana, and Governor Kim Reynolds of Iowa. Governor Ricketts put on an awesome celebration of Nebraska’s number one industry, agriculture. As a farmer and rancher, it was exciting to share our world class beef and corn, among other awesome food and local music, with the visiting governors. I am thankful for Governor Ricketts being such a huge supporter of Nebraska agriculture.
As Election Day comes closer, I want to remind my constituents to think of the negative effects Medicaid expansion would have on Nebraska taxpayers. Medicaid expansion has had a detrimental effect on other states’ budgets since implementation. Projections of new enrollees have been dramatically underestimated in most states that have implemented expansion, causing states to spend much more than expected. Kentucky has seen a 70% growth in Medicaid spending over the last four years and enrollment numbers have more than doubled initial projections. Medicaid spending now accounts for one-third of the state’s budget and the program itself has an estimated $296 million budget shortfall over the next two years as of August 2018. Massachusetts’s share of Medicaid spending jumped 20% from $6.4 billion in fiscal 2013 to $7.7 billion in fiscal 2016, causing the state to ask the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services for permission to cut services to ensure funding for the expansion population. Nevada has seen Medicaid enrollment increase by 90% and spending increase by 93% in the last four years. Between 2014 and 2023, Nevada will spend an additional $5.4 billion on Medicaid expansion. In Ohio, it was predicted 447,000 Ohioans would sign up for Medicaid expansion by 2020. As of 2017, 720,000 people had enrolled under the expansion. Ohio’s Medicaid spending has risen 35% in the last four years, averaging $437 million per month. In order to cover the increasing costs of expansion, Oregon approved taxes on hospitals, health insurers, and managed care companies in an unusual special election in January 2018. The temporary two-year tax increase is a short-term fix that, if not supplemented by a larger and long-term tax increase, will leave Oregonians in the exact same position in two years – wondering where they will get more funding or cut services. Please consider all of the consequences of Medicaid expansion when heading to the polls in November. This unfunded mandate on Nebraska taxpayers is not sustainable.
I want to encourage my constituents to reach out to me, I look forward to hearing from you!
Senator Joni Albrecht
State Capitol, Room 2010
PO Box 94604
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-4604