The majority of Nebraskans want to expand Medicaid, and it's on their midterm ballots this November. But four years into the implementation of Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, hospitals in the Cornhusker State have tempered their expectations of how much the expansion will boost their margins.
Medicaid expansion on the prairie: Nebraska's ballot initiative heads to the polls
The Nebraska Hospital Association has pushed expansion measures for years in the Legislature and is a key supporter of the ballot measure campaign. But making more people eligible for Medicaid may not help all rural providers. It isn't clear whether enough patients in far-flung rural counties would sign up for coverage and make the difference if the state cuts reimbursement or enacts provider taxes.
"In the Midwest, there is a pride factor," said Andy Hale of the Nebraska Hospital Association. "We just don't know how many people will enroll. If you're in a small rural county and you're a hospital, and expanded enrollment doesn't impact you, what happens if the state does a provider tax or reduces the provider reimbursement rate?"
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