Medicaid expansion: More unaffordable Obamacare

2013-12-11T11:00:00Z Medicaid expansion: More unaffordable ObamacareGov. Dave Heineman Fremont Tribune
December 11, 2013 11:00 am  • 

The Obama Administration is trying to pressure the State of Nebraska and the Nebraska Legislature into expanding Medicaid, which is the final element of fully implementing Obamacare in the State of Nebraska. I want Nebraskans to know that despite pressure from the president, I will continue to stand with Nebraskans. We will not be pressured or intimidated by the Obama Administration in his effort to force Nebraska to adopt optional elements of Obamacare that are unaffordable and unsustainable.

Eighteen months ago, when the United States Supreme Court ruled that the new federal health care law was legal, the Supreme Court stated that the 50 states were not required to implement all of Obamacare in its entirety. The Supreme Court ruled that one element of Obamacare, the Medicaid expansion, was optional. It was up to each state to decide whether to implement that part of Obamacare.

I have repeatedly voiced opposition to expanding Medicaid because it is too expensive. It will cost millions of state taxpayer dollars to fund an expansion of Medicaid. If you include your federal tax dollars, it will cost billions of taxpayer dollars.

The reality is that expanding Medicaid means less funding for state aid to education, early childhood programs, special education, the University of Nebraska, Chadron State College, Wayne State College, Peru State College and Nebraska’s six community colleges. Implementing the required parts of Obamacare already will cost the State of Nebraska more than $200 million in state general funds over the next six years.

But, that’s not stopping the Obama Administration from trying to force states into adopting optional provisions of Obamacare. They want the complete implementation of Obamacare in Nebraska. They want to dictate to us what to do. The Obama Administration thinks they know what is best for Nebraskans.

Their latest political antic was a November news conference involving a senior Obama Administration official, White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest, with Nebraska State Senators Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha and Kathy Campbell of Lincoln. They criticized me for siding with the taxpayers of our state and not supporting the Obama Administration’s disastrous and reckless policies.

My priority is the people of Nebraska, not President Obama and his big government policies. Fortunately, the Nebraska Legislature didn’t support expanding Medicaid during the 2013 legislative session and I hope the Nebraska Legislature won’t support it during the 2014 legislative session. Your state senator is elected to represent you, not the Obama Administration.

The majority of Americans no longer trust President Obama because of the false statements he has made about Obamacare. He said if you like your current health care plan, you can keep it. Period. That simply was not true. Millions of Americans have received cancellation notices of their current policy because of Obamacare.

The State of Nebraska can’t afford Obamacare’s optional Medicaid expansion and no matter how much pressure the White House applies, I will not be intimidated into supporting their irresponsible policies. President Obama is not in charge of the State of Nebraska. Nebraskans are and I will continue to work with the Nebraska Legislature to defeat the disastrous policies of the Obama Administration.

Dave Heineman of Fremont is governor of Nebraska. He can be reached at P.O. Box 94848, Lincoln NE 68509-4848, 402-471-2244, fax: 402-471-6031 or email at his Website, www.governor.nebraska.gov.

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