Medicaid debate begnis today in the legislature

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ A new proposal to extend health coverage to low-income Nebraskans is up for debate in the Legislature.

On Tuesday lawmakers are expected to begin discussion on the Wellness in Nebraska Act, a new version of a Medicaid expansion bill that stalled last year. The legislation would help cover an estimated 54,000 residents through Medicaid or subsidized, private health insurance.

Many residents who would qualify have fallen into a coverage gap, because their incomes are too high to qualify for Medicaid but too low to receive subsidies available through the federal health insurance marketplace.

Senator Al Davis of Hyannis is one of the supporters of the bill. Gov. Dave Heineman has argued that Medicaid expenses would grow under the bill and pull money from other priorities, such as education.

Senators aren't expected to vote on the measure until Wednesday.

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