Two Washington counties should pay close attention to Nevada health care bill

Jun 12, 2017, 10:11 AM | Updated: 10:47 am
Whether or not Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signs a bill that will allow everyone to sign up for Medi...
Whether or not Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval signs a bill that will allow everyone to sign up for Medicaid, it restarts the conversation for states struggling to provide coverage. (AP Photo/Cathleen Allison, File)

(AP Photo/Cathleen Allison, File)

Remember the government health care option nobody wanted so we ended up with Obamacare instead? It’s back, and two counties in Washington state should pay especially close attention.

RELATED: Republicans are taking a big political risk on health care

The Nevada Legislature passed a bill in late May that would allow anyone to buy Medicaid coverage — the program typically reserved for low-income health care buyers. The Legislature is essentially saying that anyone should have the right to buy into the program and get discounts.

It is “very similar” to the public option we saw during the Affordable Car Act debate, Vox’s Sarah Kliff says.

The bill is awaiting a decision by Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, who has to either sign it or veto it by June 16; otherwise, it will become law.

Whether or not it is signed into law in Nevada doesn’t really matter for people in Washington. But it does put the option on the table and gets people talking about it, Kliff says.

In Washington, Grays Harbor and Klickitat counties may be particularly interested in such a bill. That’s because health insurers are now avoiding the two counties — Grays Harbor is considered one of the most unhealthy in the state — which are in a group of less than 50 in the country where insurers are opting out of offering individual plans under Obamacare.

“You wonder if an opportunity like this becomes increasingly appealing in a place like Washington that’s looking for ways to increase competition in the marketplace,” Kliff told Seattle’s Morning News.

Even with a Republican-controlled Senate, Kliff says Nevada’s plan “would appeal to states struggling to run competitive individual markets.”

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Of course, Washington has tried to be innovative in the past and ended up driving insurers out of the state. But this is an option that residents may jump on.

You can listen to the entire conversation with Kliff here.

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
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Two Washington counties should pay close attention to Nevada health care bill