Lawmakers are reviving a debate on a stalled Medicaid expansion bill, with one senator arguing that a failure to act would force hospital closures and contribute to the "atrophy" of rural Nebraska.
Sen. Steve Lathrop of Omaha raised the issue Wednesday as lawmakers debated an unrelated bill. He was followed by several others who led the push to expand coverage as part of the federal health care law.
The bill stalled last month after supporters failed to overcome a filibuster.
Lathrop says a failure to expand Medicaid would force an estimated one in six Nebraska hospitals to close, including many that serve as economic anchors for small towns. Lathrop argues that a loss of rural hospitals would force residents to travel further for medical care.