Nebraska's Republican Gov. Dave Heineman called on Sen. Ben Nelson to vote against the Senate's health overhaul package.
Guv urges 'No' vote as Nelson mulls abortion language
Nelson, a moderate Democrat from Nebraska, has been critical of the bill, stressing concerns over abortion coverage, lax cost containment measures and the creation of a federal long-term care insurance program.
In a letter Heineman sent Nelson Wednesday, the governor calls the bill “bad news for Nebraska,” and urges Nelson to vote against it.
The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services found that under the current legislative package, the state's Medicaid program would grow by $2.5 billion over six-year period, starting in 2014.
“The state of Nebraska cannot afford an unfunded mandate and uncontrolled spending of this magnitude,” Heineman stated. “Additionally, Nebraskans are very concerned about the bill's increase in payroll taxes.”
The governor also said that the state's rural hospitals could be financially hamstrung.
Nelson, whose vote is likely crucial to passing the bill, said yesterday that he is reviewing revised abortion language, but as of Wednesday had not had enough time to make a determination if it would create a firewall between federal dollars and abortion services.
“It's different,” he said of the language. “I think it satisfies some groups. I don't know if it satisfies me.”
Nelson has said that he would not vote for the bill if it did not fully fence off insurance companies from the federal subsidies meant to help expand coverage to the uninsured.
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