With the American health care system in a state of uncertainty because Congress may repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), state policymakers nationwide are considering new ways to cover their uninsured residents. On June 2, the Nevada legislature passed a bill that would allow residents ineligible for the state Medicaid program to purchase similar health coverage through the Nevada Care Plan. Democratic Assemblyman Mike Sprinkle, a veteran paramedic from Reno, sponsored the bill, which had been labeled a "public option" and stirred strong media interest.
On June 16, Nevada Republican governor Brian Sandoval vetoed the bill. In his message, Sandoval wrote: "Given the possibility that changes in federal law may put Nevada's expanded Medicaid population at risk of losing their coverage, the ability for individuals to purchase Medicaid-like plans is something that should be considered in depth. If done correctly, the proposal . . . could provide a necessary safety net for those who may no longer have access to traditional Medicaid." After the veto, I interviewed Sprinkle, who chairs the Nevada Assembly Health and Human Services Committee and is the Assembly's majority whip. Here is an edited and condensed transcript of the conversation.