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Nebraska officials assure election secure; state prepared for Medicaid expansion

Gov. Pete Ricketts
Gov. Pete Ricketts
Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 10:27 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (WOWT) - Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and other state officials are giving an update Wednesday morning on the security of the November election as well as the expansion of Medicaid, which goes into effect on Thursday.

Joining the governor for his update was Secretary of State Bob Evnen; Dannette Smith, CEO of the state Department of Health and Human Services; and Jeremy Brunssen, interim director of Medicaid and long-term care at DHHS.

Evnen said the state was prepared to handle the increase in absentee ballots, talking about previous success with the method of ballot collections. Ricketts urged Nebraskans to make sure to turn in or mail their ballots themselves and avoid allowing a partisan third-party group or representative to do so on their behalf.

Starting Thursday, Nebraska will officially offer expanded Medicaid coverage to low-income people after years of political battles in the Legislature, a statewide ballot campaign that led voters to approve it, and a nearly two-year rollout that left some residents in health care limbo.

The state will provide coverage to 10,288 residents who have signed up so far, a number roughly in line with state projections. State officials expect the number enrolled will to rise to about 90,000 within a few years. Nebraska was among several conservative states where state lawmakers and governors declined to expand Medicaid, only to see the issue go to voters.

Watch Wednesday’s news conference

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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