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State moves to keep healthcare costs in check

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In an effort to keep a lid on Nevada’s healthcare costs, Gov. Steve Sisolak issued an executive order late last month designed to limit annual price increases.

The goal of the order, which sets a benchmark for how much healthcare costs should grow in a year, is to make sure those costs don't outpace wages, according to a statement from the governor's office.

“This impacts Nevadans directly,” Sisolak said when announcing the order, calling it “one step forward in our efforts to address rising health care costs.

An associate dean from the University of Nevada Reno medical school said Sisolak’s action “aims is to improve transparency so that we can then start developing targeted policies as a state to address what's driving that spending growth.”

John Packham, associate dean for the Office of Statewide Initiatives at UNR Med, said the pandemic and massive federal financial response have upended the healthcare marketplace, something that “throws everything off.”

“It's a tricky time to be doing this type of macro price benchmarking effort,” he said, “but I still think it's, it's worth the effort.”

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Packham told State of Nevada this kind of initiative would be a challenge to undertake at any time, but it could pay dividends in the years ahead with a better understanding of the frequently opaque healthcare pricing structure, something he likened to "trade secrets."

“I would call it a necessary first step,” he said. “Nevada is usually not at the forefront of efforts like this.”

The governor’s order aims to keep healthcare costs from rising more than a projected 3.2% this year, with the rate declining to 2.4% in 2026

The state’s Patient Protection Commission, Division of Insurance, and Department of Health and Human Services will work with insurance companies and healthcare providers to address the goals.

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John Packham, associate dean for the Office of Statewide Initiatives, UNR Med

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