GOP’s new health expense will hurt Nevadans

Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017|2 a.m.

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During the congressional argument over Affordable Care Act repeal, Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., devoted both to opposing any costs that made Nevada worse off and not pulling the carpet out from the hundreds of thousands of Nevadans who gained protection through the ACA’s Medicaid expansion.

I’m battling phase 4 cancer. The last thing I need is to be battling my own U.S. senator too. I was so relieved when Heller said he ‘d defend us. But I was ravaged when he voted to repeal the ACA and let us all down.

Now, an emerging bipartisan effort to enhance our health care system without taking individuals’s coverage away or gutting Medicaid offers Heller yet another possibility to come through for Nevadans like me.

But the senator has actually rather signed onto a last-ditch attempt at ACA repeal, one that would trigger lots of countless people to lose coverage, raise expenses for millions more, and deeply cut and cap Medicaid. I need to keep my medical insurance to stay alive. This most current GOP boondoggle, like all the others, puts people with pre-existing conditions at danger once again. Including me.

The proposal, launched last week, would let states deteriorate defenses for individuals like me with pre-existing conditions. States might enable insurance companies to impose annual and lifetime limitations and set deductibles and co-payments without any limitations, putting care out of reach for individuals with cancer and other health conditions who require pricey treatments. They could likewise let insurance providers go back to leaving out essential services, like psychological health and substance usage treatment, that a lot of Nevadans count on.

The bill would also slash federal funding for health protection for Nevadans by almost $640 million by 2026. It would get rid of the ACA Medicaid growth, which covers more than 200,000 Nevadans, and get rid of tax credits that help nearly 90,000 moderate-income Nevadans afford marketplace coverage.

A far smaller “block grant” would replace both Medicaid growth funding and market aids momentarily prior to disappearing completely in 2026. And the plan would likewise top and deeply cut the remainder of the Medicaid program just like previous Senate and House repeal expenses, putting coverage at danger for lots of seniors, people with impairments and kids here in Nevada.

Neither the block grant nor the cap would change– as Medicaid and marketplace subsidies do today– for public health emergency situations like the opioid crisis or expensive new prescription drugs, leaving Nevada high and dry in the face of unexpected expenses.

There’s simply no chance that the Cassidy-Graham repeal strategy provides better health care for Nevadans. It shares the exact same defects of every repeal bill so far. If Heller wishes to keep his pledge to individuals of Nevada, he needs to drop his support for this hazardous expense.

The public, specialists across the political spectrum and groups representing patients, medical facilities, doctors, seniors, people with specials needs and others have forcefully and repeatedly rejected this misdirected technique.

It’s time to desert propositions that pull the rug out from under Nevadans and focus on bipartisan options that enhance our healthcare system. Our lives must be more crucial than Heller’s abundant donors.

Laura Packard is a Las Vegas digital/new media and interactions strategist, Democratic political specialist, author and small-business owner dealing with cancer.

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