LINCOLN — Chanting “Vote! Vote! Vote!” about 300 people gathered Wednesday on the State Capitol steps in support of a Medicaid expansion.
Speakers at the rally called for an up-or-down vote on a bill that would extend Medicaid coverage to more low-income adults.
Legislative Bill 577 stalled last month in the face of a filibuster. Although supporters say they have enough votes to pass the measure, they have not yet been able to find the 33 votes needed to cut off the filibuster.
Becky Gould, Nebraska Appleseed executive director, said Nebraskans deserve a vote on the bill.
“This bill is a lifeline for our low-income working people and our hospitals,” she said.
Inside the Capitol, meanwhile, State Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha chided his colleagues at several points Wednesday for blocking a vote on the bill.
“Everything the Legislature wants to stop is something benefiting the ordinary person,” he said.
The bill would implement a Medicaid expansion made possible by the federal health care law, the Affordable Care Act, but made optional by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June.
It would provide health coverage to low-income adults without minor children — a group who cannot qualify for Medicaid now.
It also would cover parents and disabled adults who make too much to qualify for Medicaid under current income limits.
Gov. Dave Heineman has adamantly opposed the measure, saying it is unaffordable for the state.
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