As the COVID-19 crisis worsens, it is especially vital that all Americans have health insurance coverage to access testing and treatment. Yet many working Nebraskans are rapidly losing their jobs and their job-based insurance. Because Nebraska has not expanded its Medicaid program, people who lose their job-based health insurance typically have no good options for staying covered.
Even Nebraskans who keep their jobs in the COVID-19 crisis may not have health coverage if they do not get health insurance through their employer. Before the COVID-19 crisis, census data showed that seven in 10 Nebraskans who would be eligible for coverage through Medicaid expansion were working. Currently, almost no working Nebraskans are eligible for Medicaid because the state has not yet expanded the program.
Governor Ricketts announced last year that he would delay the start date of Medicaid expansion to October 1, 2020, almost two years after voters approved a ballot initiative for expansion. But Nebraskans need Medicaid expansion now more than ever. The governor should expand Medicaid immediately to protect hard-working Nebraskans in the midst of this public health crisis.