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Nebraska lawmakers 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 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. 

Late nights and budget bills 

A series of a dozen scheduled late nights begin Tuesday, and first up will be debates on three budget bills, which could take the whole day. 

After this week, about three late nights a week are scheduled through the end of the session, which has 19 days remaining. 

— From staff and wire reports

 

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