This is part of a series looking back on Nebraska Appleseed’s work in 2012.
Health care legislation took a prominent place in the news in 2012, and Nebraska Appleseed was on the front lines of the fight to ensure all Nebraskans have access to affordable, quality health care.
Restoring prenatal care for all low-income Nebraska children
In April, a great victory was won for Nebraska children. The Legislature passed LB599, which restored prenatal care coverage for all low-income children in Nebraska, regardless of their mother’s immigration status.
Appleseed was at the forefront of the fight to pass LB599. We worked with state senators, helped lead a broad coalition of advocates, and organized a vigil to rally support for the bill. In the end, state senators voted to override a veto of the bill, ensuring that all Nebraska children have the chance at a healthy start in life.
Affordable Care Act implementation and insurance exchange structure
In June, Appleseed celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that largely upheld the Affordable Care Act – the health care reform bill that allows millions of Americans better access to quality, affordable health care.
This year, Nebraska Appleseed continued to lead a coalition of state partners to advocate for implementation of the ACA that is focused on and accountable to consumers. Appleseed staff took part in several events to urge our state’s leaders to consider low-income and working families when implementing the ACA.
In August, Appleseed was invited by the Governor to present at a public meeting on how best to implement health insurance exchanges called for by the ACA. We attended and testified at a number of briefings the Department of Insurance gave to the Legislature’s Banking and Insurance Committee on how to operate the exchanges.
And Appleseed has worked in the community to help Nebraskans better understand the Affordable Care Act. We have given numerous presentations throughout the year in Lincoln and Omaha, including presentations at the Ecumenical Legislative Briefing for Lincoln’s Interchurch Ministries, the Good Neighbor Center, Community Action Network Nebraska, Clinic with a Heart, Omaha’s OneWorld clinic, UNMC’s College of Public Health, First Plymouth Church, and the Children’s Health Summit. In addition, we traveled to western Nebraska to North Platte in October to give a presentation at the Connecting Young Nebraskans conference. In November, Appleseed partnered with the Center for Rural Affairs and AARP Nebraska to hold a series of community conversations to explain different parts of the law and answer questions people had about health care reform.
A big year in 2013
Nebraska Appleseed believes the Affordable Care Act is a wonderful opportunity to provide access to quality, affordable health care for Nebraskans. In 2013, we will continue to fight for a robust implementation of the ACA that is focused on the consumers it is meant to serve.
With a dedicated team of partners, Appleseed will work to make sure the Legislature takes advantage of the great opportunity to provide health care access to tens of thousands of Nebraskans through the Affordable Care Act’s new Medicaid program. This program is a good deal for our state. It will grow the economy and create jobs, with at least $2.3 billion returned to Nebraska’s economy through these federal funds. And it is the right thing to do. The new program would cover at least 78,000 uninsured Nebraskans.
We will work with federal and state officials to set up Nebraska’s health insurance exchange to make sure our system is understandable for consumers and provides the most value for our people’s hard-earned dollars.
Health care is a key piece of the foundation of Nebraska’s future, and Nebraska Appleseed will continue to take an active role in the fight to make health care accessible and affordable to all our people.