Nebraska think tank urges scrutiny on Medicaid bill

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ An Omaha think tank that opposes expanded Medicaid is urging Nebraska lawmakers to question whether the program is sustainable.

The Platte Institute for Economic Research released a report Wednesday that said lawmakers should challenge several cost assumptions about the law, including the projected number of new enrollees and the likelihood of continued federal funding.

Platte Institute director Jim Vokal argues that budget pressures could force the federal government to reduce its future payments.

The federal government has guaranteed it will pay expansion costs until 2017, after which states would gradually begin contributing. Officials say the federal contributions still wouldn't drop below 90 percent, which is higher than current Medicaid rates.

Sen. Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha says the report doesn't acknowledge low-income,
working Nebraskans who might otherwise seek costly emergency-room care.

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