- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 8, 2016

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Nebraska senators are backing alternatives to traditional health care, including the option for patients to pay practitioners directly for consultations and physicals rather than through insurance.

Lawmakers voted 38-0 Tuesday to advance a measure by Omaha Sen. Merv Riepe, a former hospital administrator, to outline how direct primary care agreements are handled in Nebraska.

Supporters say the agreements minimize regulations and promote better relationships between practitioners and patients.

Riepe says the option does not stand in the way of expanding Medicaid, but offers an alternative for a small niche in the market.

Sen. Kathy Campbell of Lincoln says because direct primary care agreements do not constitute insurance, individuals would likely need additional health coverage to comply with federal requirements.

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The bill is LB 817.

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