Nebraska lawmakers agreed Wednesday to increase the state’s Medicaid eligibility to cover more people, including infants and children, to help stem the spread of the coronavirus, after the governor signed a bill into law.
The measure was signed into law by Republican Gov.
The legislation, which passed the House on a voice vote, takes effect Oct. 1.
It would provide $2 billion in state funds for a period of four years to help families stay in the state.
It was approved by the Senate on a 21-16 vote.
It also would expand coverage to include children up to age 3, increase the amount of Medicaid that parents could be paid for by up to $10,000 and increase Medicaid reimbursement rates.
“As we have learned over the last few weeks, this is not just about Nebraska.
It is about all of us in this state,” Heinemans signature said.
“We are all in this.”
“I’ve been very proud to serve Nebraska and this governor in the past,” said Sen. Joe Dennison, R-Kearney.
“I think this is the beginning of a great chapter for our state and our country.”
Heinemane said he wanted to expand Medicaid coverage in a state that had been a “poverty trap.”
“We have a population that has a lot of chronic health issues that are caused by our low-income population, and we need to help them get the care they need,” Heimans office said.
The bill also provides $5 billion for Nebraska to help pay for the costs of the vaccine, $4 billion to cover the costs for new labs and $2.5 billion to support a state-run vaccination center.
“This bill does not just give Nebraska the money it needs to protect our residents, but it also provides for the medical and scientific advancement needed to keep this disease at bay,” said House Speaker Tim Carpenter, D-Eagle, who introduced the legislation.
“In a state where our population has been at epidemic levels for years, we have to take all the steps necessary to address the pandemic before it reaches Nebraska.
This is a critical step.”
He said the bill is part of an effort to “send a message that the state of Nebraska is not the country it once was.”
Pete Ricketts, R, speaks during a news conference about the coronas pandemic, Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2016, in Des Moines, Iowa.
(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) Heinemann, a Republican, was in Iowa to discuss the state and get a message out about the seriousness of the pandemics threats.
The governor’s office says he is not sure when the bill will be enacted.
Heinemany said he is also working on a bill to create a new vaccine for COVID-19 and a vaccine for the vaccine for another deadly coronaviruses.