Watch AARP Nebraska State President Bob Eppler rally the crowd in support of LB 577, the Medicaid expansion bill.
Eppler made the following remarks at a May 15 public rally on LB 577, now bottled up in the Legislature:
I am here today to call on our State Senators to take a vote on LB 577. It has been difficult to watch the tactical delays on a bill that is so obviously the right thing to do. It’s been especially difficult knowing that a minority of Senators is keeping the Legislature from advancing the bill.
At AARP we know that a majority of Nebraskans support Medicaid expansion. How do we know? We asked them. Our polling of Nebraska voters found strong support for expanding Medicaid. But you can’t get it done by just talking about it. So take a vote.
We know that Medicaid expansion will help those hard working Nebraska families who are struggling to make ends meet to get the health care coverage that they need. These are Nebraskans who don’t get paid much for the work that they do and need affordable health care coverage. But you can’t get it done by just talking about it. So take a vote.
We know that if we don’t expand Medicaid that, starting on January 1, our health care system will lose out on three quarters of a million dollars every day. And if I may digress, that’s $500 a second. In the time it will take me to say “cut off your nose to spite your face”, we’ll lose $1500. With that loss of financial support for health care, some providers, in some parts of the state, are at risk of going out of business. We need to make sure all of our communities continue to have access to health care. But you can’t get it done by just talking about it. So take a vote.
We know that Medicaid expansion could help older workers who have been laid off and are having difficulty getting re-hired. These folks pay extraordinarily high health insurance premiums, whether that is through CHIP or COBRA or individual policies. They need some relief. But you can’t get it done by just talking about it. So take a vote.
We know, and the Legislative Fiscal Office confirms, that LB 577 would save the state more than $2 million in the next two years. And we know that, over the long run, savings in other state-funded programs will offset the state share of the cost of Medicaid expansion. But you can’t get it done by just talking about it. So take a vote.
This is an opportunity to provide health care coverage for all Nebraskans and avoid the cost shifting that complicates health care financing. But we won’t be able to take advantage of the opportunity if a minority of Senators continues to block a vote on LB 577. We urge you all to talk with your state Senators to let them know that you support Nebraska families and Nebraska taxpayers and that you want them to pass LB 577.
One more time and make sure that they can hear us in there. What do we want our Senators to do about LB 577? Take a vote.
Thank you for being here. Thank you for supporting access to health care for all Nebraskans.