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Nevada Democrats Offered Medicaid to Everyone. The State’s GOP Governor Said No

Nicole Knight

The health-care legislation was offered up as a radical solution to those who stand to lose coverage under the Republican repeal of Obamacare.

As Senate Republicans work in secret to strip health insurance from millions by repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Nevada’s GOP governor vetoed legislation Friday to extend Medicaid-like insurance to Silver State residents, saying the concept needs further study.

“Moving too soon, without factual foundation or adequate understanding of the possible consequences, could introduce more uncertainty to an already fragile health-care market, and ultimately affect patient health care,” Gov. Brian Sandoval said in his veto message, as the Nevada Independent reported.

The bill would have made Nevada the first state to permit anyone to buy into Medicaid, the government plan for people with low incomes. By harnessing Medicaid’s negotiating power, the plan was expected to drive down health insurance costs, while offering a significant degree of coverage.

Passed by the state’s Democratic-led legislature, the health-care legislation was offered up as a radical solution to those who stand to lose coverage under the Republican repeal of the ACA, or Obamacare. Sandoval has been critical of the GOP’s deeply unpopular American Health Care Act.

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“Health care is a right, not a privilege or a product,” Assemblymember Michael Sprinkle (D-Sparks), the bill’s sponsor, said following the veto. “With this veto, Governor Sandoval has actively decided to veto a right that all Nevadans should have.”

Close to 300,000 Nevadans have gained Medicaid coverage since Nevada legislators expanded Medicaid under Obamacare in 2015. These residents, mostly people with low incomes, stand to lose their health care under congressional Republicans’ plan.

Friday was the final day for Sandoval to veto the measure. Otherwise, the legislation would have gone into law without his signature.

Galvanized by congressional Republicans’ threats, legislatures in New York and California are advancing bills to create a single-payer health insurance system.

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