In a joint resolution, Republicans in the Nevada Assembly and Senate are trying to ban the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange created under the Affordable Care Act.
The exchange saw a rocky beginning in 2014, with technical difficulties that forced the state to use the federal infrastructure in place for the national exchange.
Officials with the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange have said that since the site has been fully operational, almost 74,000 Nevadans were signed up during the most recent enrollment period.
The Senate Commerce, Labor and Energy Committee held a hearing Monday to review SJR14, sponsored by St. Sen. Don Gustavson R-Washoe County, which seeks to propose an amendment to the Nevada constitution to ban the insurance exchange.
Across the hall in the Assembly, Assemblyman Brent Jones, R-Las Vegas is sponsoring the measure seeking to close the exchange, but through a state statute rather than the constitution.
If the bills are successful, Nevada residents would still be able to get health insurance, but it would be through the federal insurance exchange healthcare.gov. Critics of the exchange and other supporters of the bill say the system is an initiative that steps on states’ rights, and that premiums have increased since the health care law was enacted.
However, Las Vegas Sun political reporter Kyle Roerink told KNPR’s State of Nevada that it is doubtful that the resolution or the bill will move forward.
“They don’t have a chance. They’re going to go into a drawer and die,” Roerink said.
Roerink questioned whether the sponsors of the proposals really understood what is going on with the Affordable Care Act. Currently, the Supreme Court is deciding a case related to state subsidies in the federal exchange. If the High Court rules against the federal government, it could mean that people who bought health insurance through the federal exchange and received a subsidy would lose that financial help.
“When it comes to Nevada, if Nevada were to go to a completely federal-run exchange that could jeopardize the 74,000 people that enrolled during the last open enrollment period. That’s a lot of people on health insurance plans right now who would probably not be happy,” Roerink said.
He also believes Gov. Brian Sandoval would not be happy about rolling back the exchange. He was one of the first Republican governors to support the health care exchange and embrace Medicaid expansion, both of which are laid out in the Affordable Care Act.
Kyle Roerink, politics reporter, Las Vegas Sun
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