LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraska residents who have relied on Medicaid for themselves or their families said Thursday that elected officials must preserve the health coverage program for children, seniors and people with disabilities.
During a gathering sponsored by Nebraska Appleseed, a law firm that advocates for low-income people, the residents voiced their concerns about proposed caps on the program under the Republican-sponsored American Health Care Act. Medicaid covers nearly 230,000 people in Nebraska.
Lincoln resident Katie Nungesser said Medicaid provided coverage for her and her infant daughter after a divorce forced her to close the day care business she had run out of her home.
“Medicaid allowed us to transition” to more stable employment, said Nungesser, who no longer relies on Medicaid. “For us, it was a game-changer.”
Amanda Gershon, who also lives in Lincoln, said Medicaid allows her to buy prescription drugs that she needs for a variety of autoimmune disorders.
Gershon originally fell into the so-called Medicaid coverage gap because her income was too high to qualify for regular Medicaid but too low to receive tax subsidies available through the federal health care marketplace.
Eventually she qualified, but only after she suffered several health scares that sent her to the hospital. Now that she has the medications, Gershon said she plans to enroll this fall at Southeast Community College.
“I’m very terrified” of how coverage might change under the new health care bill, she said.
Susan Williams of Omaha said Medicaid provided crucial services for two of her children with disabilities. Without coverage, she said she wouldn’t have been able to afford day care so she could work.