By: Leah Uko
LINCOLN, NE (KPTM) – A new law could potentially help nearly 5,000 elderly Nebraskans stay at home—as opposed to in a nursing home.
Last week, Governor Heineman vetoed a billed that would direct the state to apply for federal grant money to help senior citizens continue living in their homes.
Heineman said the grant would only fund the state's federal Medicaid funds for a limited time.
But Thursday, lawmakers overrode the governor's veto in a 30-12 motion.
Currently, the state spends 58 percent of its Medicaid long-term dollars on nursing home care and about 42 percent on home and community-based care. Lawmakers want that cost to split 50-50.
Providing federal funding for the elderly to continue to stay at home was an idea Gail Miller supported.
Miller, 69, has lived alone in her La Vista home since her husband passed away in December. She said having 24-hour in-home care with Right At Home gives her a better quality of life than living in a nursing home.
"I wouldn't have the freedom I have here and be able to do the things that I do at home and you've got all these people all the time with you," Miller continued. "I don't think I would enjoy that, that much."
Kristi Benning, director of client services for Right At Home, said the facility's patients who receive Medicaid would benefit from more federal funding.
"Our goal is to help people maintain their dignity and respect and stay independent, at home as long as they can, come people have more support of family in town than others," Benning continued. "Some people are completely alone and we're the only ones that they see."
The bill, LB 690 will also create a task force to develop a plan to help people of 65 years old.
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