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I hope everyone has been having an enjoyable summer. I have been traveling the 44th District to multiple community events and parades. I always enjoy getting out and meeting the people of the district I serve. Please make sure to reach out and say hello to me if I am at an event with you, I always enjoy talking to my constituents. This week I would like to talk about Medicaid expansion since it will most likely be on the ballot this November.
You may have seen people working the crowds at events trying to collect signatures for Medicaid expansion over the past few months. Most of the petition gatherers were paid and most of the money to pay the gatherers came from outside of Nebraska. The Secretary of State’s office requires 85,000 valid signatures in order for the measure to appear on the ballot, the group, Insure the Good Life, collected more than 133,000, well over that limit. There is a good chance that the measure will appear on the ballot come November.
I would like to discuss some of the facts that come along with Medicaid expansion. If passed it would expand coverage to approximately 90,000 individuals that are working, abled adults, not children or elderly. Those who are in need are already covered under the current system. A question commonly asked is where the money will come from to fund this expansion. It may have to come from somewhere else in the budget and is estimated to cost between $80 and $100 million per year. The three largest expenditures within our budget are K-12 education, Health and Human Services, and the University of Nebraska. We have already reduced provider rates for some HHS programs and have made small cuts to the University. If we choose to cut K-12 education it will have to be made up in higher property taxes. There is no way to pay for expanded Medicaid without making additional cuts within our budget.
If any college-aged students from the 44th district are coming to Lincoln to attend school and would like to be a page, please send a resume to my office before 5:00 pm on Thursday, September 14th so that I can write a letter of recommendation for you. Your application will be due in the clerk’s office by September 28th. This is a wonderful opportunity for young adults to see how the nation’s only unicameral works. It is a great way to get involved and learn more about your state government.
I always enjoy hearing from the Nebraskans I represent. Please feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns that you might have. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and my phone number is (402) 471-2805. You can read more about bills and other work of the Legislature at www.nebraskalegislature.gov, and you can click on the Live Video Streaming NET logo to watch sessions, hearings, and other Capitol events.