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Direct primary care bill advances in Nebraska Legislature

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska lawmakers have advanced a bill that would give state employees a new health care option that minimizes the role of insurance.

Lawmakers gave the measure first-round approval on Monday with a 30-0 vote.

State workers could enroll in a so-called direct primary care plan if it survives two more votes from lawmakers and is signed by Gov. Pete Ricketts.

Supporters say direct primary care allows doctors to spend more time with patients and reduces bureaucracy by cutting out the insurance middleman, although many consumers still buy high-deductible "wraparound" insurance to cover hospitalizations and access to specialists.

Sen. Merv Riepe, the bill's sponsor, says state employees could keep their traditional coverage if they want. Nebraska's largest state workers' union isn't fully opposed to it, but has voiced concerns.



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