Nevada’s Health Care Future Statement On Hearing To Consider State Public Option Legislation 


MEDIA CONTACT: Holly Silvestri, (702) 340-6262

CARSON CITY, Nev. – Nevada’s Health Care Future issued the following statement after a hearing today in the Nevada Senate Committee on Health and Human Services, during which lawmakers discussed legislation to create a new state government-controlled health insurance system, also known as the state government option.  

“During today’s hearing, Nevada lawmakers heard from voices throughout our state, including respected health care and economic leaders who expressed serious concerns about the unaffordable costs and other potential consequences of creating the state government option in Nevada – especially its potential to reduce Nevadans’ access to the quality health care they need and deserve and worsen Nevada’s physician shortage,” said Nevada’s Health Care Future spokesperson Holly Silvestri.

“Instead of rushing to pass this complicated and risky proposal in the final weeks of the legislative session, Nevada lawmakers should take these leaders’ warnings seriously and pause while Nevadans continue to benefit from the federal government’s largest expansion of affordable coverage in over a decade. Lawmakers should also learn from the failure of similar proposals, such as in Washington state, where coverage through the state government option costs up to 29 percent more than traditional plans,” Silvestri continued.

“Every Nevadan deserves access to affordable, high-quality health coverage and care, and the most effective way to achieve this goal is not creating an unaffordable new state government-controlled health insurance system that could make it harder for Nevadans to access affordable coverage and care. Instead, policymakers should build on and improve what’s working today, where the private plans works together with public programs like Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act to help Nevadans get covered, get healthy and stay healthy,” Silvestri concluded.

And in a joint letter to lawmakers, a broad coalition including the Nevada Hospital Association, Nevada State Medical Association, Nevada Association of Health Plans, Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce, Reno + Sparks Chamber of Commerce, Latin Chamber of Commerce, and Henderson Chamber of Commerce writes that “we and our partners who represent Nevada based employers and businesses are united in opposition to Senate Bill 420 creating a Nevada ‘Public Option.’” They continue:

While the intention is well placed, the proposal contains significant flaws that will not meaningfully address Nevada’s uninsured population, will damage the health insurance market, and undercut Nevada’s Medicaid safety net. It does nothing to increase the number of providers in urban or rural Nevada, potentially making it more difficult for individuals to receive medical care and will ultimately result in an increase in premiums in urban areas. Ultimately, at its core, SB420 does nothing different than Medicaid and the Health Exchange currently do, but add costs, increase burdens, and damage both the health insurance market and health care provider network. The public option provisions of the bill are neither a solution nor a benefit to Nevadans.

The Nevada state government option proposal comes 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 is increasing subsidies to help make coverage more affordable. As Governor Steve Sisolak said, Nevadans “will benefit from expanded subsidies, lower premiums and access to applying for health insurance” under the new American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).  

new analysis by the Brookings Institution also highlights the significant resources now available for Americans to obtain affordable health coverage under ARPA and concludes that elected leaders in Carson City should 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 Care Future 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. 

The poll’s key findings include: 

  • Seventy-five percent of voters prefer for lawmakers to BUILD ON Nevada’s health care system rather than create a new state government option. 
  • A majority of Nevada voters do NOT support the state government option (only 38 percent support). 
  • Voters are especially CONCERNED about the impacts of the state government option on access to quality care (78 percent), closure of at-risk rural hospitals (74 percent), and having fewer doctors (73 percent). 
  • Seventy-nine percent of voters are UNWILLING to pay more for health care than they currently do to subsidize the cost of the state option.  
  • Seventy-three percent of voters would rather keep their current coverage than buy state option coverage. 

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