Omaha Public Radio News
2:15 am
Thu February 19, 2009

Metro area coalition calls for health care reform

Omaha, NE – A group of health care advocates, unions, insurance companies and doctors are coming together to call for health care reform.

The SEIU, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Nebraska and the Alzheimers Association were among the groups who talked about health care reform during a meeting Thursday at the Metro Omaha Medical Society. All spoke in support of LB 656, a bill that would require health insurance for all Nebraskans. The bill calls for the creation of a comprehensive health care system that covers long-term, dental, preventive, and behavioral health coverage.

Dr. Les Spry, President of the Nebraska Medical Association, says LB 656 would help thousands of Nebraskans if it becomes law. He estimates that more than 200,000 Nebraskans are continuously uninsured over a given year.

Jane Fleming Kleeb of the SEIU says without reform, families could find themselves paying $23,000 for health insurance by 2016. And Karen Noel of the Alzheimers Association says 75 cents of every dollar spent on health care goes toward treating people with chronic illnesses.