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One Year Ago Today: Heller Ties Himself in Knots Over Health Care

This time last year, Sen. Dean Heller was tying himself in a pretzel in a remarkably convoluted interview with Axios. At this point, Heller was well on his way to reversing course by voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA):


  • Heller refused to answer where he stood on repeal efforts.

  • Heller said he wasn’t undecided, he just hadn’t made a decision.

  • Heller refused to talk about potential coverage losses.

  • Heller dodged on potential premium increases.

  • Heller said he might be a no vote – but he wasn’t saying he was a no vote.

  • Heller said his answers to Nevada voters would depend on the individual.

  • And finally, Heller dodged on whether Gov. Brian Sandoval’s position was a factor in his decision-making.

Read it all for yourself >>

Axios: Dean Heller is keeping his options open on health care


So you came out in your press conference a few weeks ago – you were pretty clear about what the bill didn’t do, about which expectations of yours it didn’t meet. Can you tell me now where you stand? What are your expectations as of now, and where do you see the movement towards what you’re looking for?

“I don’t have an answer to that question. I truly don’t have an answer to that question, because things are changing so quickly … And it’s not because I’m undecided – all I’m trying to do is get all the information I possibly can before I make a decision.”

Is there – with coverage numbers, could any Nevadans lose coverage? Or is there kind of like a threshold that you have set for yourself?

“See, I’m not going to talk about that. Yeah, that’s not the discussion I want to have. The discussion I want to have is to see what the options are, so that we can make the best decision and choice for the state of Nevada. And if that’s a no vote, that’s a no vote. I’m not saying I’m a no vote but I’m just saying, I want to have all the information that I can have and continue to gather this information to the point that I can actually make a decision. I’m not at the point I can make a decision.”

Similar question on premiums – if premiums do not decrease, is that something – have you made a hard line –

“That’s one of the variables in this process.”

So you don’t know – say they increase, you don’t know if that would kill your vote.

“Well, you know, all the scoring and everything, I want to see it. Read it. I want to understand it. And if I have questions, I want to be able to go to people that can answer those questions.”

You sound pretty flexible.

“I hope so. I hope to be. And I think, frankly, that’s what I should be doing.”

So like a voter from Nevada was coming up to you and said, ‘What won’t you support?’ What would you tell them?

“It just depends on the individual. We’ll sit down and talk about what their concerns are, what their problems, then we’ll address those specifically.”

I know Gov. Sandoval said he doesn’t like the 2015 straight repeal bill (he joined a bipartisan group of governors opposing it). Is that a factor in your vote too? The fact that he said he does not like that?

“Everything’s a factor. Everything’s a factor.”