Nevada Economic Leaders Express Concern Over Costs And Consequences Of Proposed State Government Option

CARSON CITY, Nev. – As the Nevada Senate Committee on Health and Human Services met this week to discuss SB 420 – which would create a new state government-controlled health insurance system known as the state government option – voices throughout Nevada, including respected economic leaders, testified to express their serious concerns about the unaffordable costs and other potential negative consequences, including decreased access to affordable coverage options and quality care.

Particularly with the bill now being amended so that the state government option does not begin operations until 2026, lawmakers should slow down and take the time to fully study this issue, rather than rushing to pass this complicated and costly proposal in the final weeks of the legislative session.

Mary Beth Sewald, Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce:

This bill will not reduce health care costs, rather it will shift costs onto other Nevadans. Also mandating a state insurance plan to offer a rate 5 percent lower than commercial rates is another cost shift. Evidence from other states that have implemented similar programs confirms that insurance costs went up, which is very concerning.

Ann Silver, Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce:

SB420 would increase costs to our Chamber businesses and their employees, reduce competition and choice for working Nevada families and might possibly deter physicians from establishing much needed practices in our state.

Scott Muelrath, Henderson Chamber of Commerce:

We are extremely troubled by both the impact this proposal will have on Nevada’s families currently receiving employer provided health benefits and the inverse adverse impacts to access and careNevadans need from their health care network – in effect pushing doctors or health care heroes out of the Nevada market. SB 420 would create a new government-controlled program that will ultimately provide fewer options and benefits while eroding existing private insurance plans, that will predictably shift remaining health care costs not covered by the state to the Nevada families who choose to receive employer coverage, increasing health care costs for many.

Peter Guzman, Latin Chamber of Commerce:

Our primary concern as a Chamber is that this is risky, overreaching, and quite frankly, this is vaguely written legislation that would result in an increased cost of care to Nevadans currently enrolled within employer provided health care plans, which by the way is most of Nevada’s working population. I also think that it could reduce competition in the marketplace as well as consumer choice. Unfortunately, this is done with well-intentions, but there are unintended consequences and usually people pay dearly for those unintended consequences.

Ray Bacon, Nevada Manufacturers Association: 

This bill, as written, will have significant unintended consequences, which will likely make the situation worse than our current situation … Nevada is and has been a doctor and medical care shortage state for decades … I fear SB 420 as written will likely increase the doctor shortages in this state.

As the federal government rolls out “the biggest expansion of federal help for health insurance since the Obama-era Affordable Care Act” and Nevada’s Silver State Health Insurance Exchange increases subsidies to help make coverage more affordable, new analysis by the Brookings Institution warns elected leaders in Carson City to take “caution against making lasting changes” to the state’s health care policies “until matters are clearer.”

Meanwhile, a newly released statewide poll conducted by Locust Street Group on behalf of Nevada’s Health CareFuture finds that the majority of Nevada voters overwhelmingly support efforts to build on and improve what’s working in health care, rather than start over by creating a state government-controlled health insurance system like the state government option. 

  • To learn more about Nevada’s Health Care Future, CLICK HERE.