Nevada is quietly making moves toward a “Medicaid for All” public health care plan that would make coverage available to all of the state’s 2.8 million residents.
On Friday, the Nevada state legislature passed the first bill in the country that would expand Medicaid, the public health care assistance program for the nation’s poor, statewide. The news comes at a time when President Donald Trump and a Republican Congress are pushing to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed under President Obama, cutting Medicaid spending by $800 billion over the next 10 years.
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval (R-NV) has not announced whether he will support the bill, and according to Vox, his office declined to comment on his plans to veto or sign the new health care package into law.
While Democrats have introduced Medicare for All programs in the past, such proposals have not received strong bipartisan support, largely because of Medicare’s high costs.
Medicaid, on the other hand, may have a stronger appeal because of its lower costs (doctors are paid lower rates for Medicaid than Medicare) and more robust benefits. Medicaid is also easier to pass on a state-level because states have greater control over program funding.
Nevada’s Medicaid for All plan, a four-page bill known as the Nevada Care Plan, would allow people to use their ACA tax credits toward Medicaid. Those who do not qualify for tax credits would be able to buy into the program, which would compete with other private health insurance providers in the marketplace.
“There is no way people can be productive members of society and take care of their families if health care is a privilege and not a right,” state Assembly member Michael Sprinkle told Vox.
Sprinkle, who introduced the bill, says that the Governor Sandoval’s office has been very helpful in laying out the groundwork for the new health care program, and he said that he is optimistic that Sandoval will sign the bill.