How Nevada is creating a public healthcare option

Nevada lawmakers have passed a new law that creates a public healthcare option, aiming to reduce costs and incentivize consumers to consider lower priced healthcare plans rather than none at all. 

The move comes as Congress is looking for public opinion on a federal public healthcare option, The Wall Street Journal reported. However, the new law in Nevada is not without controversy. It was passed by Democratic lawmakers, leaving Republicans and healthcare industry representatives arguing the move is government overreach and will drive healthcare companies from the state. 

Nevada may be moving ahead with its plans for a public option at a time when the pace of new laws in Washington, DC, is slow, especially for healthcare improvements. Rather than wait for a promised public option at the federal level, some states are taking the option into their own hands. Already, Washington and Colorado have signed public options into law. Illinois, New Mexico and Oregon may also be working their way toward a similar system.

The Nevada law requires some insurers to bid to offer public-option plans by 2026, with the plans being 5% less costly than other mid-priced plans. Over four years, those plans would end up costing 15% less. Only insurers that contract with the state’s large Medicaid contracts would be required to bid on these plans. The public option is intended for those who make too much to qualify for Medicaid. 

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