Take Action on Medicaid, Appleseed at Maha, & The Good Apple Awards!

The temperature hasn’t been the only thing heating up in Nebraska the past few weeks. The debate on whether Nebraska will take the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion – and expand health care coverage to at least 50,000 uninsured Nebraskans – has been heating up as well.

In spite of the heat, Appleseed has been out and about in the community. This last month, Appleseed kicked-off a community-led initiative – You’re Welcome in Omaha – with an art and music exhibition at the House of Loom to show that Omaha is welcoming and inclusive of its immigrant neighbors. Continuing the music trend, Appleseed has been selected to attend the first-ever Community Village at the Maha Music Festival.

Lastly, we are excited to announce our honorees for this year’s Good Apple Awards, Appleseed’s annual event to celebrate Nebraskans who stand up for justice and opportunity for all and build a stronger Nebraska.

In this edition of “Appleseed in Action”:

Ensuring health care coverage for 50,000 uninsured Nebraskans

ACA Becomes LawLast month, the Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA) but made the provision to expand Medicaid coverage optional for states like Nebraska. The Medicaid option would allow Nebraska to provide affordable health care coverage to nearly 50,000 uninsured Nebraskans.

On July 19, Appleseed and other advocates called for Nebraska policymakers to expand Medicaid coverage and decrease Nebraska’s uninsured population by half.

This new option would provide Medicaid coverage to families who earn less than 138% of the federal poverty level – or approximately $30,000 for a family of four. This means a parent working two jobs who can’t afford private coverage but makes too much for Medicaid might finally get health care. It means your middle-aged neighbor who doesn’t yet qualify for Medicare, but lost their job and health insurance, could now afford to see a doctor.

Here’s how it works: The federal government will pay the majority of Nebraska’s costs. In fact, the federal government will pay 100% of the Medicaid expansion’s cost through 2016 and then gradually decrease its match to 90% of the cost after 2020. This gives Nebraska a cost-effective opportunity to provide health care coverage for a segment of the population who find it very difficult to purchase coverage in the private market. Additionally, it’s estimated that $2.7 billion would be returned to Nebraska’s economy through these federal funds. Read Appleseed’s Fact Sheet

“This is an opportunity we can’t afford to pass up if we are serious about addressing the problem of the uninsured in Nebraska,” said Jennifer Carter, Director of Appleseed’s Health Care Access Program. “A strong economy, job creation, and healthy communities in Nebraska all depend on a health care system that works for Nebraskans. Healthy Nebraskans provide the needed, skilled workforce to attract new businesses to the state and ensure the best learning environment for our children.”

But Nebraska can’t benefit unless we participate. If Nebraska doesn’t take the option, our state leaves billions of dollars on the table and nearly 50,000 Nebraskans without health care coverage.  This is why it’s important for you to contact your state senator.

Please take a moment to contact your state senator today.

Find your state senator.

Tell them that expanding Medicaid is a cost-effective, responsible way to provide health care coverage to nearly 50,000 hard-working Nebraskans who couldn’t otherwise afford to a see a doctor.

It’s one of the best investments we can make in public health and Nebraska’s future.

Read more of Appleseed’s analysis:

You’re Welcome in Omaha kicks off at the House of Loom

On July 20, Appleseed and two dozen community organizations celebrated the launch of You’re Welcome in Omaha, a community initiative to show that Omaha is welcoming and inclusive of its immigrant neighbors.

You’re Welcome’s mission is based on a pretty simple notion:  Immigrants settling into a community have a far better chance of integrating if the others in that community are receptive to welcoming their new neighbors. You’re Welcome seeks to make that happen through education, engagement, artistic expression, and community services.

The kick-off event at the House of Loom featured numerous musicians, artists, and poets joining a few hundred Omahans throughout the night from across the city to celebrate Omaha’s diversity. [See photos and read highlights from the event]

It’s been exciting the past few weeks to see people come together in support of making Omaha a more welcoming community. Here are just a few samples of what Omahans have been saying:

Rachel Jacobson, Director of Film Streams at the Ruth Sokolof Theater:
“When people come to our country for a better life, just as most Americans’ ancestors did, we should figure out the best way for them to be assimilated and integrated into our community so that they can begin to be active and vibrant contributors as quickly as possible.”

Calvin Smothers, Community Center Director at inCOMMON Community Development:
“Many immigrants play on an unfair playing field in terms of resources or education that have been available to them. Welcoming helps in terms of integrating immigrants and grants better access to such resources.”

Kyle Tautenhan, Omaha Young Professionals:
“The opportunity for our community to see the world from different eyes leads to unique ideas and solutions that benefit our city.  Being challenged with these diverse ideas opens the door for Omaha workplaces and communities to compete with cities from across the globe. Most importantly, it makes our community stronger and more committed to the steady march into Omaha’s positive future.”

Susan Mayberger, Coordinator of English as a Second Language, Migrant and Refugee Education for Omaha Public Schools:
“If we are a welcoming community…it’s good for everyone. If we did not have our immigrant and refugee families, it would have a negative effect on our economy and community.”

At the conclusion of the night, more than 200-300 guests had met new people and learned more about their Omaha neighbors. The one question repeatedly asked was, “How can we be involved in the next steps?”

To get involved, contact Christa Yoakum at cyoakum@neappleseed.org.

Join Appleseed at the Maha Music Festival on August 11

Each year, the nonprofit and volunteer-led Maha Music Festival brings the community together around great local and national music. As Maha puts it, “It’s about being in Omaha and loving every second of it. In the plainest sense, Maha is about community.

With community in mind, Maha decided to launch its first-ever Community Village at this year’s festival to showcase community groups and organizations they believe are working to make Omaha and Nebraska a better place.

Appleseed is privileged to announce that we’ve been invited to participate in Maha’s inaugural Community Village! See which other community groups will join us

If you’re going to Maha on August 11 be sure to stop by Appleseed’s tent and say hello to our staff! There, you can learn how you can take action on key issues, get involved with Appleseed’s welcoming initiatives, and even register to vote!

See you there!

Celebrate our Good Apple Awards honorees

Join Appleseed on Thursday, October 4, 2012 to celebrate people who stand up for justice and opportunity for all and build a stronger Nebraska.

We are excited to announce this year’s honorees: 


State Senator Kathy Campbell

Appleseed is proud to recognize State Senator Kathy Campbell with the Jim Wolf Equal Justice Award for her tireless advocacy for Nebraska’s children.

As Chairwoman of the Legislature’s Health & Human Services Committee, Senator Campbell has been a central leader in overseeing the Legislature’s efforts to reform Nebraska’s child welfare system and improve the lives of thousands of Nebraska’s most vulnerable children. Under Senator Campbell’s leadership this session, the Legislature passed a series of child welfare reforms that created much needed accountability, transparency and oversight of the state’s child welfare system.

Senator Campbell has also been the lead advocate at the Legislature for two years calling for the restoration of prenatal care coverage for all low-income mothers and children. Because of Senator Campbell’s efforts helping pass LB 599 this April, more than 1,500 low-income children will have access to prenatal care and a chance at a healthy start to life.



Rachel Jacobson
Film Streams

This year, Appleseed will deliver our Milo Mumgaard Emerging Leader Award to Rachel Jacobson, founder and director of Film Streams. The award, named after Appleseed’s founding executive director, recognizes young, emerging leaders who have a vision for the best of what Nebraska can be and, through initiative, hard work, and dedication, are pushing to make their vision a reality. Appleseed is proud to recognize Rachel’s efforts founding Film Streams and its commitment toward bringing together community groups to engage in much needed dialogue on important social issues facing our communities.

Rachel and Film Streams also have contributed to the mission of Appleseed’s immigration program: promoting strong, vibrant, integrated and engaged communities. Rachel and Film Stream’s Community Development initiative have collaborated with a long list of community groups and hosted dozens of community events and forums to cultivate dialogue through events such as its biennial Cinemateca film series celebrating Latino, Latin American and Spanish cinema, its community forums around documentaries including 9500 Liberty, When We Stop Counting, and A Time for Burning, and much, much more.



Carolina Quezada
Latino Center of the Midlands

Sergio Sosa
Heartland Workers Center

Willie Hamilton
Black Men United

Appleseed is pleased to give our grassroots advocacy award to Carolina Quezada, Sergio Sosa, and Willie Hamilton collectively for their efforts to defend voting rights in Nebraska. This year, these three community leaders were instrumental in rallying the community to speak out against legislative proposals that would’ve created unnecessary barriers for citizens to exercise their voting rights. Moreover, they have led the way in Omaha to challenge proposals to cut back polling locations and have worked with the community and the Election Commissioner to find solutions to help Nebraskans vote.



Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Act Coalition

Appleseed’s Seeds of Justice Award honors public interest legal contributions towards positive public policy reform in Nebraskan. This year, Appleseed will present the Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Coalition with the award. The Nebraska ICWA Coalition, comprised of tribal representatives and attorneys across Nebraska, work to strengthen the Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Act and to protect the rights of Native American children and families who interact with the child welfare system.

Join us as we celebrate these outstanding Nebraskans at this year’s Good Apple Awards at the Livestock Exchange Building Ballroom in Omaha on Thursday, October 4, 2012.

The Good Apple Awards is a heavy hors d’oeuvres cocktail reception. Cocktail hour begins at 6pm. The program begins at 7pm followed by a post-program social. Individual tickets are $50. Young professional tickets are $35. Purchase tickets online

For more information about the event, tickets, or sponsorship opportunities contact Nicholas Swiercek at nswiercek@neappleseed.org or (402) 438-8853 x110.

Thank you to our Good Apple Awards sponsors (As of August 1):

Partner Sponsor

Advocate Sponsors


Ally Sponsors
Annette & Paul Smith
Commercial Investment Properties
Fuhrman, Smolsky & Furey, PC
Mueller Robak LLC
Nebraska State Education Association
One World Community Health Centers
Stinson Morrison Hecker LLP
Vanguard Charitable Endowment

Friends of Appleseed
American Communications Group

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