ICYMI: Public Option ‘Not Working Out As Hoped’

CARSON CITY, Nev. – In case you missed it, POLITICO Pro reports that Washington state, Nevada and Colorado’s new state government-controlled health insurance systems, known as public options, are “not working out as hoped” and are failing to deliver on politicians’ promises of cost savings and coverage gains.

POLITICO Pro reports that “costs have not come down enough yet to make a real dent in affordability or in the rates of uninsured and underinsured” and “the policies haven’t yet achieved the kind of sweeping change that proponents had hoped.”

In Nevada, POLITICO Pro reports that state health officials are considering “reducing legislative-set premium reduction targets” and the public option “is projected to make only a small dent in the state’s uninsured rate.” 

Nevada’s Health Care Future spokesperson Holly Silvestri explained to POLITICO Pro that the public option is “a political solution looking for a problem” and policymakers should “build on and improve what is currently working in our health care system” rather than press forward with the public option’s implementation. “If we don’t take a step back and slow down, this unproven and risky policy could hurt the very people it intends to help,” Silvestri said.

In Washington, the first and only state in the country to have fully implemented a public option, POLITICO Pro notes that enrollment is “paltry” and that the state’s own health officials say the available policies are still “too expensive.” The report continues:

Only about 7,000 of the nearly 240,000 people who enrolled in individual plans through the state’s health insurance exchange selected public option plans for 2022. Laura Kate Zaichkin, senior policy adviser at the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, said premiums for public option plans — which are in the low $400s per month before subsidies — are “still too high,” even though the state caps provider reimbursement rates at 160 percent of what Medicare pays. She said that while providers have met that cap “pretty consistently,” that isn’t translating to lower premiums.

Washington state Representative Eileen Cody (D), who sponsored the state’s public option bill, said in the article, “[i]t’s not exactly what I had envisioned — I’ll put it that way.”

  • Read the full report by POLITICO Pro HERE.
  • Read more on Nevada’s Health Care Future HERE.