Governor Sandoval, Please Veto AB 374 - Healthcare - Nevada | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

Governor Sandoval, Please Veto AB 374 - Healthcare - Nevada

State Action

The Honorable Brian Sandoval

Governor of Nevada

101 North Carson Street

Carson City, Nevada  89701

 

Dear Governor Sandoval,

On Friday, June 2, 2017, the state legislature passed AB 374, a bill that will allow any citizen of Nevada to buy into Medicaid.  Allowing anyone to buy into Medicaid, a health insurance program that is notorious for waste, fraud, and abuse, and delivering poor care, is financially risky and foolhardy, especially since Congress is deliberating over how the program should be financed and reformed.  The joint Senate Finance and Assembly Ways and Means Subcommittees voted to increase the state Medicaid budget to $1.38 billion in early May, an increase of $256 million, or approximately 23 percent more than the current Medicaid budget and equal to 17 percent of your total proposed state budget of $8.2 billion.  On behalf of the thousands of members of our respective organizations in Nevada, we urge you to veto this bill.

AB 374 will allow anyone in the state of Nevada, regardless of income or health status, to buy into Medicaid.  This greatly changes the original purpose of Medicaid, which was designed to help low-income and disabled individuals get access to healthcare.  Politicians and liberal policy advocates have long argued that allowing citizens to buy into Medicaid is a worthy proposal because coverage costs are less than private insurance.  But, the program costs less because doctors and other providers are paid lower rates.  Many physicians refuse to see Medicaid patients because they do not wish to deal with the cumbersome Medicaid bureaucracy and they cannot afford to keep their practice open if too large a percentage of their patients are covered by the government-run program.

It is likely that expanding Medicaid will encourage most private insurers to leave the state.  It is not farfetched to imagine that many individuals will drop their private insurance for the “cheaper” and price-controlled Medicaid coverage and some employers will be incentivized to drop health insurance coverage altogether, expecting their employees will be able to get health insurance through Medicaid.  These actions will drive Nevada toward a single-payer system such as those in European countries.

Furthermore, there is very little legislative direction in the bill; future decisions on how the program will be run will be determined by regulators and administrators.  From a fiscal perspective, this is a very risky approach.

Again, we urge you to veto AB 374 and look to more free market approaches to expand health insurance access in Nevada.

Sincerely,

Tom Schatz

President, CCAGW

Pete Sepp

President, National Taxpayers Union

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