Last week, we talked about the coverage gap that about 78,000 Nebraskans would fall into if the Legislature chooses not to implement the new Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.
These are Nebraskans that don’t qualify for the current Medicaid program, but don’t make enough to be able to get tax credits to buy health insurance through the Exchange. People like Linda Manns of Bellevue, who recently lost her job (and health insurance) as a certified nurse assistant because her diabetes kept her from working mandatory overtime.
A great video out of Arkansas shows how each story like that of the Manns family is a small piece of a larger picture. If Linda gets the health care she needs through the Medicaid program, she can go to work and spend her salary in the economy instead of on medical bills. She can pay the mortgage at her bank, make a car payment, or shop at one of her downtown businesses. Every dollar invested in Medicaid acts as a stimulus to local economies.
The new Medicaid program is a great opportunity and a real solution that would generate $700 million in the Nebraska economy and sustain 10,000 jobs every year from 2014-2020 according to a University of Nebraska Medical Center report. And it’s paid for almost entirely by the federal government, meaning that our tax dollars are returned to Nebraska to help Nebraskans.
A healthier population means a healthier workforce that will spend money to fuel a healthy economy. That makes the new Medicaid program a win-win for Nebraska families and Nebraska businesses.