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Governor Sandoval Opposes Senator Heller’s Health Care Repeal Bill

The Nevada Independent: Sandoval signs letter asking Senate leadership not to consider Heller-sponsored health-care proposal

Gov. Brian Sandoval has sharply split with fellow Republican Sen. Dean Heller Wednesday over a last-ditch proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act, joining a bipartisan group of nine other governors in asking Senate leadership not to consider the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson proposal.

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Under the inflation adjustments allowed by the proposal, neither the block grant nor the per capita cap on Medicaid will keep pace with the year-over-year costs of providing health care in Nevada, state officials say. Even if both increased each year to meet the annual rate of medical inflation, it still wouldn’t be enough to meet the state’s projected 5 to 11 percent growth in Medicaid costs, said Julie Kotchevar, deputy director with the state Department of Health and Human Services.

Department officials have asked for a copy of the calculations the Republican senators point to to show how states will benefit under their proposal, which show that Nevada will receive nearly $2 billion through the block grant by 2026, but have yet to receive a copy of that spreadsheet. Kotchevar noted that the senators’ projections only offer a comparison against 2016 funding levels, about $1.3 billion in Nevada in 2016, but not against the projected dollars Nevada would receive in 2026 under the status quo.

The left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimated that Nevada would lose $257 million by 2026 under the original version of Graham-Cassidy, compared to what it would receive that year under the status quo, a number that shot up to $639 million gap under the latest draft.

“Ultimately this is to limit federal expenditures on health care. By definition that means the state has to hold more of the future risk and costs,” Kotchevar said. “That is the part I think we’re struggling with because we’ve worked so hard to reduce the rate of the uninsured.”

State officials are also concerned that certain waivers allowed under Graham-Cassidy, such as allowing states to let insurance companies charge higher premiums for certain pre-existing conditions, will make it more difficult for patients to afford the cost of health care, which will eventually fall back on the state in the form of costs in some other form.

Though it’s difficult to project future health care costs with certainty, the department estimates that the costs of providing health care to the various groups currently covered by Medicaid would exceed the amount the state would receive under the per capita cap somewhere between 2021 and 2025, likely sooner for the aged, blind and disabled and later for children. After that, the state will have to pay 100 percent of the costs out of the general fund, meaning the state will either need to raise taxes or cut back the services it offers to patients or payments to providers.

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Sandoval signs governors’ letter opposing Heller Obamacare repeal

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has joined with nine other governors in asking the U.S. Senate leadership to reject the latest proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act.

In a letter dated Tuesday Sandoval and his colleagues from states including Colorado Democrat John Hickenlooper, Ohio Republican John Kasich and Alaska Independent Bill Walker, asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, “not to consider the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson amendment” now in the Senate.

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In the letter from the group of governors — which includes four Republicans, four Democrats and an Independent — they asked the Senate leaders to “renew support for bipartisan efforts to make health care more available and affordable for all Americans. Only open, bipartisan approaches can achieve true, lasting reforms.”

Reno Gazette-Journal: Sandoval asks Senate to reject Heller-backed Obamacare repeal

Nevada Appeal: Sandoval prefers governors’ healthcare plan over Heller’s bill

Washington Post: New health-care plan stumbles under opposition from governors

The Hill: Kasich, Sandoval, Alaska governor oppose new ObamaCare repeal bill

TPM: Key Governors Come Out Against Senate’s Latest Obamacare Repeal Bill