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Laxalt Snubs Request from State Health Exchange to Fight for Affordable, Stable Health Insurance

Today, The Nevada Independent reported that the executive director of the state’s health insurance exchange asked the attorney general’s office to join a lawsuit aimed at protecting state insurance markets from attempted sabotage by the Trump administration. Attorneys general from 18 other states filed the lawsuit after Trump announced he would end cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments, which allow insurers to offer affordable health care plans and keep insurance markets stable.

Ending CSR payments would truly “hurt everybody” in Nevada, as Gov. Sandoval said. Premiums for silver health plans would go up 11 percent, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Insurance provider Anthem cited the Trump administration’s constant threats to end CSR payments as a reason for its decision to leave Nevada’s exchange starting next year.

The Nevada Independent: Laxalt snubs state health exchange’s request to sue over Trump Administration’s anti-Obamacare move

By Riley Snyder

December 15, 2017

Attorney General Adam Laxalt ignored a request by the state’s health insurance exchange director to enter the state into a lawsuit over the federal government ending payments to insurance companies — a decision that Gov. Brian Sandoval called “devastating” at the time.

According to a report filed in August with the board of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, Executive Director Heather Korbulic asked the attorney general’s office to consider entering into a lawsuit with other states if the federal government chose to stop so-called Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) payments, made by the federal government to help insurance companies offset the cost of insurance premiums offered to lower-income people.

“Nevada carriers need assurances around the payment of CSRs, and they need enforcement of the individual mandate as it relates to risk-mix, and indications of short and long term reinsurance programs,” she said in the report. “I have provided information about this lawsuit to the office of Nevada’s Attorney General with a request that the state consider the merits of joining the suit.”

Korbulic said in an email Thursday that she never received a response after reaching out to the deputy attorney general assigned to the exchange and asking for a meeting with Laxalt. A spokeswoman for the attorney general did not return an email seeking comment on Thursday.

[…]

But insurance officials and Sandoval have sharply criticized the decision to end the payments, saying that it will introduce additional volatility into the insurance market that could lead to rising premiums or a collapse of the market over time.

“It’s going to hurt people. It’s going to hurt kids. It’s going to hurt families. It’s going to hurt individuals. It’s going to hurt people with mental health issues. It’s going to hurt veterans. It’s going to hurt everybody,” Sandoval said in an October interview with The Nevada Independent. “And so this is something that I’ve been very supportive during my administration in terms of expanding health care and making sure that people have access to affordable health care and I’m going to continue on that path.”

Nevada State Democratic Party spokesperson Helen Kalla released the following statement:

“Given Adam Laxalt’s penchant for frivolous lawsuits as attorney general, it’s disturbing but not surprising that he would snub a request from the state to join 18 of his colleagues in suing to protect consumers from reckless and dangerous sabotage of our health care system by the Trump administration. In the past four years, Laxalt’s decisions have made it clear that his priority is not standing up for the people of Nevada, but bolstering his own brand as a right-wing conservative at all costs. The most partisan attorney general in Nevada’s history can’t be trusted to put what’s best for Nevada ahead of his own political career. ”

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