Against the governor's objections, a local conservative backs a controversial measure related to so-called "Obamacare." So why did Sen. Mike Gloor change his mind? "
It's a completely different bill," Gloor said.
A year ago, the Grand Island lawmaker supported a filibuster, in effect helping kill a Medicaid expansion in Nebraska.
"Was I think a hope and dream," he said. "If we expanded Medicaid, good things would happen. It would improve access, it would improve quality. In fact, I think none of things were really addressed."
But now he supports something called the WIN Act, Wellness in Nebraska, which could help another 50,000 low income people get coverage.
Gloor said, "We've got to change our delivery model, have to get a handle on what we're paying and making sure the outcomes are there along with the kind of money we're spending."
Sen. Gloor acknowledges people don't want federal dollars, especially since they'll diminish over time.
"That alone is a red flag for a number of people," he said.
One estimate puts the expense to the state at $64 million over a five year period from 2015-2020. Gloor realizes it's a tough sell, given his own opposition to so-called "Obamacare."
"Frankly, I'm not a big fan of the ACA overall, but there are components that people like," he said, pointing to things like coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions.
Specifically, Gloor says this strengthens connections between patients and doctors, which will keep costs in check.
He said, "Built into patient centered medical homes are outcomes, measures, accountability, improvements in access."
And as the former CEO of St. Francis Medical Center, his views on health care, and the WIN Act carry weight in the legislature.
He said, "I think it has very positive ramifications, not just for those who will be new to Medicaid, but change in delivery system in ways that will be benefit to all Nebraskans, regardless of who their payer is."
Among other things, the bill would penalize those who use the emergency room instead of going to their family doctor.
Gloor expects the governor will veto it, and he's not sure the votes are there to override that.
Governor Dave Heineman restated his position that this is an expansion of Obamacare, under a rebranded effort.
Groups like Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom agree with the governor.
Doug Kagan of NTF said, "We all know Obamacare is going to bankrupt the country and Obama's push to get States to ‘expand Medicaid' by dangling Federal dollars at us won't work. Today, Move On.Org is launching an ad campaign criticizing Governor Heineman and his stand against Obama Care at the state level. The Federal money being promised is not ‘free money'. It is our hard earned tax dollars and Nebraskans won't be fooled by this liberal ploy."