Nevada’s Health Care Future Statement on Update of Nevada’s Public Option

Coalition calls update ‘re-hashing faulty assumptions’

Carson City, Nev. – Nevada’s Health Care Future issued the following statement after the Department of Health and Human Services released a summary update of its unfinished actuarial study conducted by Milliman on the Nevada public option, also known as the state government option.

“State policymakers, while ostensibly giving us new information about what the state government option would look like in Nevada, re-hashed many of the same faulty assumptions SB 420 was predicated upon last year. Rushing to implement this unaffordable, unproven system is putting the cart before the horse. Policymakers should instead be focusing on building on and improving what is clearly working to get more Nevadans covered,” said Nevada’s Health Care Future spokesperson Holly Silvestri.  

“The state’s own update spotlights two fundamental flaws in the basis of the study: 1) while Nevada has an acute physician shortage – ranking 48 out of 50 states in physicians per capita – the state concedes that its public option will actually cut payments to providers making it harder to attract and retain doctors that we desperately need in our state; and 2) the state acknowledges most uninsured Nevadans don’t need a public option since the majority of these individuals are already eligible for more affordable health care coverage through Medicaid or Marketplace tax credits,” Silvestri added. 

“The only conclusive finding in this recent update is that some politicians are trying to force an unaffordable, unproven state government-controlled health insurance system on Nevadans, despite repeated warnings from state health care officials, physicians, and economic leaders that it will have a harmful effect on Nevadans and the state,” Silvestri said.  

“It is clear that the state needs substantially more data before it can seriously consider implementing this unaffordable state government-controlled health insurance system.  We are deeply concerned that fundamental questions remain unanswered as to who the target population will be for this new government-controlled system, as well as the financial liability to hardworking Nevada taxpayers, and perhaps most important, its bearing on our already serious physician shortage in Nevada.” 

According to Silvestri, Washington remains the only state in the country to implement a public option, and it has turned out to be a total failure. Only one percent of exchange consumers in Washington enrolled in the state’s public option plans in 2021, and public option premiums were 11 percent higher than the lowest plans in the marketplace. 

“Public programs and private plans are already working together to expand Nevadans’ access to affordable, high-quality health coverage and care. Data confirms that Nevadans continue to benefit from the federal government’s largest expansion of affordable coverage in more than a decade, as more than 100,000 Nevadans enrolled in health coverage through Nevada Health Link during this year’s open enrollment period. In addition, Nevadans are benefiting from significant cost savings and more health plan choices than ever before,” Silvestri concluded. 

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