LINCOLN – Today, Nebraska Secretary of State John Gale has confirmed that the statutory requirements for valid signatures have been met to place Medicaid expansion on the 2018 general election ballot.
The measure would help residents throughout the state, especially in rural areas where Nebraskans face longer travel times, limited availability of healthcare facilities, and limited financial resources. In addition, most jobs in rural and small-town Nebraska are provided through small businesses, less than 20 percent of which offer health insurance coverage for employees.
There are nearly 100,000 working Nebraskans who do not have access to health insurance, or cannot afford health insurance. Signatures were collected throughout the state in order to add the issue of Medicare expansion to November’s ballot.
Insure the Good Life, an organization who lead the signature collection efforts across the state said, “Now that the initiative is certified and headed to the ballot, we believe that the people will vote in support of bringing $1.1 billion of our hard-earned tax dollars home from Washington D.C. and put it to work in our communities. Medicaid expansion will boost our economy, create jobs, and make our families healthier.”
If passed, the measure would cover nearly 100,000 individuals working at jobs that come without health care coverage and who earn less than $17,000 a year. According to some projections, Medicare expansion will create and sustain 10,000 new jobs and bring $1.1 billion of Nebraskans’ tax dollars back from the federal government. Other states with expanded Medicare have seen a reduction in medical bankruptcies, and hospitals in those states see significant savings by reducing uncompensated care for those who lack health coverage, helping to keep the doors of those hospitals and clinics open. In states that previously expanded Medicaid, studies also show increased economic activity as a result. See the UNMC study on the impact of expanded Medicare.
Insure the Good Life is made up of local health care stakeholders, organizations, and everyday Nebraskans who want Nebraska voters to have the choice of a healthier future. The members of the ballot committee are: Amanda Gershon (Lincoln), Kathy Campbell (former Nebraska State Senator, Lincoln), and Dr. Rowen Zetterman (Omaha).
Organizations endorsing Insure the Good Life include: AARP Nebraska, ACLU of Nebraska, Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska, Center for Rural Affairs, Children and Family Coalition of Nebraska, Community Action of Nebraska, Inc., Friends of Public Health, Health Center Association of Nebraska, Heartland Workers Center, League of Women Voters of Greater Omaha, League of Women Voters of Nebraska, Multicultural Coalition of Grand Island, National Council of Jewish Women – Nebraska, Nebraska AFL-CIO, Nebraska AIDS Project, Nebraska Appleseed, Nebraska Association of Behavioral Health Organizations, Nebraska Association of Local Health Directors, Nebraska Chapter – National Association of Social Workers, Nebraska Hospital Association, Nebraska State Education Association, Omaha Together One Community, and Voices for Children in Nebraska.