Yesterday, Governor Joe Lombardo announced his plan to transform the Nevada Public Option into a Market Stabilization Program. According to the announcement, the program will bring greater stability to Nevada’s individual market for health insurance by reinvesting 1332 waiver funds back into the marketplace and provider system.
Spearheaded by Senator Nicole Cannizzaro, the public option was passed during the 2021 Legislative Session on a party-line vote and signed into law by former Governor Steve Sisolak. The public option requires insurers to provide a public option through the state’s health insurance exchange at reduced rates for the elderly, disabled, pregnant, and poverty populations. Critics cite that the net effect of the public option would result in increased health insurance rates and potentially less insurance choices for anyone above the poverty line.
During his State of the State address, Governor Lombardo referred to the public option as “political theater.” As the law has yet to take effect, this modification by the Governor’s office aims to “substantially revise” the public option “to better address existing issues within the state healthcare system and the public option plan” through reinsurance and incentive programs supported by 1332 waiver funds:
- Finance a reinsurance program for all health insurers operating in the individual market
- Establish a new quality incentive payment program to reward high-performing insurers that offer public option plans and meet certain metrics or quality indicators
- Fund new initiatives designed to increase the state’s health care workforce capacity to improve access and lower the cost of health care by addressing the imbalance between provider supply and demand
“My plan to use these new federal funds to support our state’s healthcare infrastructure and workforce will help offset the instability created by the public option,” said Governor Joe Lombardo. “Reinsurance is a proven method of protecting consumers and will help Nevadans avoid the higher costs of insurance they would face through the cost-shifts driven by the public option.”
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