Lawmakers Gear Up for Medicaid Battle - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Lawmakers Gear Up for Medicaid Battle

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The battle lines have been drawn and those against so-called Obamacare won the last battle in the Nebraska legislature, but the issue will be back in 2014.

Sen. Annette Dubas said, "When I hear from rural hospitals and what it means to them keeping doors open, we just need to do something."

She's not sure what the legislature will do but Sen. Dubas knows what she'd like to see happen, and that's expanded health coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Dubas said, "I've supported the Medicaid expansion all along. I understand the importance to our rural hospitals and what it means to them to keep their doors open and provide health services to all of us."

Efforts to expand Medicaid met with heated opposition last year, with the governor saying he won't have it.

Governor Dave Heineman has said President Obama is trying to force the law on Nebraska, and says it would cost the state hundreds of millions.

As the legislature looks towards 2014, a bill by Senator Kathy Campbell of Lincoln is dead, but she's told the speaker of the legislature she will try again.  

Speaker Greg Adams of York said, "It will be shaped a different way than 577 was, what it'll look like exactly, I've had preliminary discussion with her, but she's still in the process of working with the committee."

Senators who favor the Medicaid expansion say it would bring coverage to tens of thousands who don't have it now.

But many question at what cost to the taxpayer.

It's not clear how the debate will shape up, but it's not over.

"The issue of Medicaid expansion will be back in front of the legislature again," Adams said.

The legislature will get back to work about two weeks from now.

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