Hearing examines Nevada public health insurance option

Hearing examines Nevada public health insurance option

“A policy like a Nevada public option would have made a huge difference when I was struggling to ensure I was still going to be able to access my medical care for my chronic illnesses and the prescriptions I take every day,” Saunders said.  Saunders, the executive director of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada, shared her story during the first committee hearing on Senate Bill 420, which would create a public health care option in Nevada. The bill, sponsored by many state Democrats and led by Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, D-Las Vegas, would make the plan, called the Nevada Option, available through the state’s insurance marketplace and state-contracted health insurers. Under a proposed amendment for the bill, coverage would begin by 2026.

CARSON CITY — Christin Saunders’ wedding day was the day after her 26th birthday, the day she was kicked off her parents’ insurance. Tuesday, May 4, 2021 | 9 p.m.

Though she had been in a relationship with her now-spouse for years, they needed to schedule a wedding quickly so she wouldn’t be uninsured.  By John Sadler (contact)

Even with the federal Affordable Care Act, popularly known as “Obamacare,” around 350,000 Nevadans remain without insurance. Senate Democrats have said the Nevada Option would be available to 67% of uninsured Nevadans. The bill would require companies that bid to provide Medicaid services in Nevada to also offer plans under the public option. Cannizzaro and proponents have argued the measure is a way to leverage the state’s $2 billion in Medicaid contracts to expand affordable health care. In college, she said, she injured herself badly and had no insurance. She couldn’t pay off the bill for years.

“When we were sick, we got to go to the doctor and for the longest period of my life, until I became an adult, I thought the doctor was $20 because that was what we paid,” she said. In opening comments Tuesday afternoon, Cannizzaro spoke about her experience growing up in a working-class house, stressing she was lucky to have parents who qualified for a good health insurance plan.

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