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Senator Tom Brewer
This week my colleague, Sen. Adam Morfeld of Lincoln, accused another of my colleagues, Sen. Joni Albrecht of Thurston, of leaving “…our friends, family and neighbors dying, suffering, and going bankrupt without affordable healthcare.” He made this false accusation in a newspaper editorial simply because she (like many other senators) opposes the Medicaid Expansion initiative. It is sad to be reminded of how course and divisive our political dialog has become.
Nearly $3 million dollars has been raised to promote the Medicaid Expansion initiative. About $1.2 million of that amount has come from national organizations outside of Nebraska. The “Insure the Good Life” organization behind Initiative 427 even has sitting State Senators on their payroll. Like me, I’m sure many of you are wondering how a sitting Senator can be paid a salary by a lobbyist organization to promote a particular legislative outcome. I assure you what is being done is completely legal. Nonetheless, I cannot understand how those of us in the public trust responsible for making the laws can be in a quid pro quo arrangement with organizations who are paid to influence the policy-making process. How can we take the word of a paid promoter funded by outside interests? Are they speaking for what’s best for Nebraska? Is this an honest argument about an important public policy issue, one about an idea standing or falling on its own merits in the public arena? It’s hard for people to know who to believe. As proud as we all are of the transparency and openness built into our unique Unicameral system, Nebraska is still one of the few States that doesn’t have a law against this sort of thing.
Anytime we’re faced with something that will put 1 in 5 able-bodied Nebraskans on a welfare program, cut other important programs and guarantee we’ll never be able to afford property tax relief, I think we need full and fair debate. We’re not getting that. According to the 24 October article in Modern Healthcare called “Medicaid expansion on the prairie: Nebraska’s ballot initiative heads to the polls” even Sen. Morfeld admits “it’s too early to determine how the State should pay its share.” The article goes on to say Sen. Morfeld would like to see the measure passed first. Remember when we were told Congress needed to pass Obamacare so we could find out what was in it?
The aforementioned article cites concerns hospitals have about looming cuts to reimbursement rates to help off-set the “State share.” Will they have to pay a provider tax as they do in other states that have Medicaid expansion? Will tobacco taxes be increased? Will cuts to existing Medicaid have to be made? The big money special interests are obscuring the truth like a smoke screen on a battlefield, and they have good reason to do so. When folks find out the truth and understand what is involved with this program and the harm it is about to cause, most people oppose it.
I want Nebraskans to make the best informed decisions they can. I hope people can see through all the smoke and mirrors created by all of the outside money flooding into Nebraska, and make the smart choice on Election Day. Vote NO on initiative 427.
Please contact my office with any comments, questions or concerns. Email me at; firstname.lastname@example.org. Mail a letter to; Sen. Tom Brewer, Room #1202, P.O. Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509 or call us at (402) 471-2628.