Today, Veterans Day, we honor the women and men of our armed forces who have sacrificed much to defend our country. Not only should we honor these men and women, we must support them too. That means ensuring they have access to opportunities and security after their time of service ends.
Currently, 1 in 10 veterans of our armed forces under age 65, or approximately 1.3 million, are without health care coverage. Their families are touched by this as well – 948,000 children and family members of veterans also are unable to afford health insurance.
In Nebraska, between 7 and 12 percent of our veterans are uninsured.
Read the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation report, “Uninsured Veterans and Family Members: Who Are They and Where Do They Live?”
Many of our veterans have long-lasting health effects that stem from their time serving our country. Making sure they and their families have access to health care is the right thing to do to honor their service to our country.
By taking full advantage of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, we can virtually eliminate the number of Nebraska veterans who don’t have health care coverage. Nearly 50 percent of these uninsured veterans would be eligible for Medicaid coverage if the Legislature expands coverage under the ACA. Another 40 percent of these uninsured veterans will be eligible for tax credits to purchase coverage through the new Health Care Marketplace.
Honoring the service of the women and men of our armed forces means ensuring they get access to health care coverage once their time of service has ended. Expanding Medicaid and making the Marketplace as effective as possible for Nebraskans will be a large step forward in repaying the debt of honor we owe to our Nebraska veterans.