A new fiscal analysis projects federal health care reform could cost Nebraska up to $766 million over the next 10 years, largely due to its expansion of the Medicaid program.

“The results of this analysis are staggering,” Republican Gov. Dave Heineman said in a statement. “This unfunded and unparalleled expansion of Medicaid is an unfair and unsustainable mandate on Nebraska and other states. This analysis confirms that the federal health care law is an extraordinarily large and excessive unfunded mandate for states. It is potentially devastating to our state budget.”

Nebraska hired Milliman Inc. — which has conducted similar analyses for 24 other states — to analyze the cost of the new law. The firm projected it would cost Nebraska between $526 million to $766 million in fiscal 2011 through 2020.

The lower estimate does not assume full participation in the law’s expanded Medicaid programs. The higher estimate assumes full participation, adding 145,000 residents to the program over the next 10 years, according to the governor’s office.

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