Healthcare blocks put on hold


March 10th, 2011

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Omaha, NE – The Nebraska Legislature heard two proposals to weaken the federal health care overhaul law at the Capitol Wednesday.

The first proposal, introduced by state senator Beau McCoy of Omaha, would prohibit the state from forcing people to buy health insurance, a key provision of the new health care law. The second, introduced by State Senator Charlie Janssen of Fremont is a resolution that would express Nebraska’s disapproval of the law.

Sen. Charlie Janssen is proposing a resolution to express Nerbaska's disdain for the new health care law. (Photo courtesy Nebraska Legislature)

“As a small business owner in Fremont when something like this … comes, you feel powerless in what you can do,” Janssen said.

Janssen called the law the biggest budget buster in the history of the welfare state. And he disputed the Congressional Budget Office’s projection that it would lower the deficit in the long-term. No one testified in support of either bill, but several spoke in opposition. George Lyford testified on behalf of the Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest. He said the health care law is already benefiting Nebraskans, and helping to fix a broken system. But state senator Dave Bloomfield disputed that, raising an example of his legislative aide’s mother who received care for a stroke within ten minutes.

“The system works. I don’t think we should risk destroying it.”

Lyford responded, “Being an economic leader in this global economy I feel that it’s
very it’s essential to not let our most vulnerable citizens slip through the cracks. You’re right our health care system is top notch for those that can gain access to it. I think it is just important to make sure that … all citizens in Nebraska and the United States that have access to the same quality.”

The Health and Human Services Committee is not expected to act on either bill. McCoy asked the committee to hold on to it, until provisions of the health care law are decided in court. Primarily the hearing was a symbolic gesture.

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