State Senator Jeremy Nordquist plans to propose new legislation in 2013 that would put elected officials and their constituents on a level playing field when it comes to health insurance.
He proposes that constitutional officers and state senators no longer be able to participate in the state employee health insurance group plan and instead would need to purchase coverage on their own.
"I want to send a clear message to Nebraskans about the Health Insurance Exchange we will create in Nebraska – if it is good enough for our constituents, it should be good enough for policymakers and elected officials," said Sen. Jeremy Nordquist.
"If we no longer shelter our elected officials from the difficulties of purchasing health insurance in the individual market, they may finally be able to see clearly the challenges faced by working families in our state, who struggle to find a health insurance plan that is both affordable and provides the kind of coverage they need."
This policy proposal at the state level is similar to the requirement in the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which requires that Members of Congress purchase health insurance coverage that is offered through an Exchange.
The health insurance plans currently available to the governor, other constitutional officers and state senators have no more than a $2,000 In-Network family deductible and have reasonable copays for doctor visits and prescription drugs.
However, the The Nebraska Essential Health Benefit Plan chosen by Governor Heineman provides no cost-sharing assistance, except for federally-mandated preventive services, and includes a $8,000 family deductible.
"It is time for elected officials to
stand side-by-side with our constituents in reforming the health insurance and
health care system, instead of creating one system for policymakers and one for
those who have to live with the policy that is made," said Nordquist.