Nebraska State Senator Ben Hansen (Blair) is making strides in healthcare and food assistance reforms, championing a bill that aims to improve Medicaid reimbursement for hospitals and supporting an extension of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for families in need.
Sen. Hansen is the sponsor of Legislative Bill 227 (LB227), which focuses on providing Medicaid reimbursement to hospitals for patients who require special care after hospitalization. The bill addresses the challenge of patients who are eligible for discharge but cannot be transferred to nursing facilities due to a lack of available beds. By ensuring that hospitals receive adequate compensation, LB227 aims to improve healthcare access for vulnerable patients.
In addition to healthcare reforms, Sen. Hansen is backing efforts to extend SNAP benefits in Nebraska. SNAP, a program that provides food assistance to low-income families, has been a lifeline for many during challenging times. Sen. Hansen supports a plan to maintain SNAP eligibility at 165% of the federal poverty level until October 1, 2026. This extension is expected to benefit thousands of families, including the approximately 4,500 additional families that received SNAP benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic due to a temporary increase in eligibility.
Nebraska’s efforts to extend SNAP benefits are part of a broader trend across the country. In California, Assembly Bill 1876 was passed in 2020, expanding SNAP eligibility to all residents, regardless of immigration status. The move helped address food insecurity among vulnerable communities during the pandemic. Similarly, New York increased SNAP benefits by 15% for six months in 2021, providing families with additional financial support for food purchases. Ohio streamlined the SNAP application process in 2020 by enabling online applications, increasing accessibility for families in need.
While the reforms championed by Sen. Hansen offer several benefits, including improved healthcare access and increased food assistance, there are potential challenges to consider. The financial impact of increased Medicaid reimbursement rates and SNAP eligibility could affect the state budget. Additionally, the extension of SNAP benefits is temporary, leaving uncertainty about the long-term impact on food insecurity.
Despite these challenges, Sen. Hansen’s efforts reflect a commitment to improving the well-being of Nebraska residents. As LB227 advances through the legislative process and SNAP benefits are extended, Sen. Hansen and his colleagues continue to work towards a brighter future for Nebraskans.
By Don Harrold for BlairToday. Email email@example.com for corrections, additions, and questions.