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Nebraska City News-Press - Nebraska City, NE
  • Center for Rural Affairs calls failure to pass Wellness In Nebraska Act "unconscionable"

  • Yesterday, a cloture vote on LB 887, the Wellness In Nebraska Act, failed by a vote of 27 in favor and 21 opposed to ending debate and allowing an up or down General File vote on the bill. The majority of Senators voting “yes” were not sufficient to reach the two-thirds majority required in the Unicameral to invoke cloture and end debate.
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  • Yesterday, a cloture vote on LB 887, the Wellness In Nebraska Act, failed by a vote of 27 in favor and 21 opposed to ending debate and allowing an up or down General File vote on the bill. The majority of Senators voting “yes” were not sufficient to reach the two-thirds majority required in the Unicameral to invoke cloture and end debate.
    “Failing to pass LB 887 will cost Nebraska in lost federal money and budget savings, as many as 10,000 new jobs in healthcare, insurance premium savings for the already insured… but first and foremost, it will cost lives,”
    Jon Bailey, Director of the Rural Public Policy Program, Center for Rural Affairs
    “We have waited for this vote for over a year. And we applaud the 27 Senators, led by bill sponsor Senator Kathy Campbell, that have shown the courage and leadership to stand up for tens of thousands of working, uninsured Nebraskans,” added Bailey.
    To view or download the official Unicameral vote count go to - http://www.cfra.org/www.cfra.org/LB887Vote
    “However, the time has come for naysayers and critics of Medicaid expansion to offer up solutions to the stern challenges so many Nebraskans face in our current healthcare system. These working Nebraskans have sought and secured a job, they work hard, and they deserve a chance at a happier, healthier life,” Bailey continued. “And the 21 Senators who stood in the way of passage of LB 887 owe them real solutions, not just rhetoric about openness to new ideas about providing health care. They owe Nebraska more than just political posturing and empty words.”
    “We are deeply disappointed that 21 Nebraska state Senators would put petty partisan politics ahead of the health and economic well-being of tens of thousands of working Nebraskans,” said Bailey. “Voting to preserve a public policy of negligence that leaves at least 33,000 people, including over 15,000 from rural and small town Nebraska by the side of the road with no health care options is unconscionable.”
    There simply are no compelling arguments against adopting this legislation, added Bailey. Which is why the Center for Rural Affairs was joined by AARP, Nebraska Hospital Association, Nebraska Nurses Association, Nebraska Medical Association, Voices for Children, Nebraska Appleseed, Health Center Association of Nebraska, Nebraska Association of County Officials, The Nebraska Restaurant Association, Community Action of Nebraska, the Nebraska State Education Association and many others.
    According to Bailey, many of the impacts of failing to adopt LB 887 and expand Medicaid will fall heaviest on rural and small town Nebraska. Due to inaction in the Unicameral, 15,000 of our rural friends and neighbors will "fall in the gap", without access to affordable health care. Currently insured Nebraskans will pay higher insurance premiums to cover the cost of uncompensated care. Bankruptcy filings necessitated by medical debt brought on by lack of health care coverage will continue. Rural hospitals will be stretched, possibly to the breaking point. And an estimated 500 Nebraskans will die as a result of having no health care coverage.  
    Page 2 of 2 - “Failing to pass LB 887 will cost Nebraska in lost federal money and budget savings, as many as 10,000 new jobs in healthcare, and insurance premium savings for the already insured, but first and foremost, it will make many of our fellow Nebraskans less healthy and cost lives,” concluded Bailey.
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