Nevada On Its Way To Becoming First State To Offer Medicaid For All

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By Friday, residents of Nevada will know if they will be able to buy into a Medicaid-for-all plan that will drastically cut their healthcare costs. The bill is now sitting on Republican Governor Brian Sandoval’s desk. If he does not sign or veto by tomorrow, the bill will automatically become law.

If this bill goes into law, it will be the first time that any person can get Medicaid regardless of income in any state. People will be able to buy into Medicaid with their tax credits. State lawmakers, who are predominantly Democrat, are hoping that this measure will save residents hundreds of dollars on their healthcare as premiums steadily rise. This bill came into existence, in part, because of the Republican healthcare bill that promises to cut current Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act.

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Under this proposal, Medicaid coverage would be offered alongside commercial insurance on the state-run health exchange beginning in 2019. As of now, lawmakers are not certain what the coverage would cost, but premiums would likely be lower than traditional insurance premiums because Medicaid reimburses providers less than most insurance plans and pays lower prices for prescriptions.

The sponsor of the bill, Mike Sprinkle spoke of the bill’s intention:

With the uncertainty and mixed messages coming from our current federal administration in regard to health care and health care accessibility, there is an absolute need for states to become more reliant on providing insurance options to its citizens. If the [Medicaid] expansion goes away, I really think this is going to be a viable option for those who lose coverage.

To be able to sell policies on the exchange, Nevada would have to get approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in the form of a waiver. Sprinkle says CMS officials are open to the idea. CMS administrator Seema Verma said she wants to allow states to experiment with their Medicaid programs to make it easier for them to get those waivers. Imagine: lawmakers and administrators working together for commonsense solutions for healthcare! All the wrinkles may not be ironed out, but at least there are people willing to think outside the box to help provide a service that everyone needs and deserves, regardless of their economic status.

However, Brian Sandoval, Nevada’s Republican governor, is the rub. We will be awaiting his verdict. We hope he puts his people, the ones who voted him into office, ahead of his party’s politics.

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