October 25, 2017

Cortez Masto Cosponsors Legislation to Create Public Health Care Option

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) cosponsored a bicameral legislation led by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and U.S. Representative Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) to create a Medicaid-based public health care option on the insurance marketplace, which will provide Americans with a new high-quality, low-cost choice when purchasing health insurance.

“By building on the success of Medicaid expansion in Nevada, the State Public Option Act will allow all Nevadans, regardless of income, to buy into our state Medicaid program and have more low-cost, high-quality options available to them,” said Cortez Masto. “Medicaid has helped provide access to quality health care to thousands of Nevadans who could not otherwise afford it. A public option plan through Medicaid would further expand health care access by giving Nevada families the choice to buy into Medicaid’s affordable health insurance plans.”

BACKGROUND:

The State Public Option Act will allow states to create a Medicaid buy-in program for all their residents regardless of income, giving everyone the option to buy into a state-driven Medicaid health insurance plan.

Medicaid is a popular and cost-effective program with a large provider network. The program has the same positive ratings as private insurance, but provides health coverage at a much lower cost. Most Americans have a favorable view of Medicaid, and a vast majority of Americans currently covered through Medicaid are satisfied with the program.

Based on partnerships between state and federal governments, Medicaid also gives states the flexibility to adapt services and models of care based on their individual needs.

Even with the progress of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), nearly 30 million people remain uninsured. This legislation will help workers who do not have employer-sponsored coverage but may make too much to qualify for subsidies under the ACA. The bill will also help consumers who live in counties with only one insurance carrier or who worry they may soon have no options for affordable coverage.

In addition to U.S. Senators Cortez Masto and Schatz, the State Public Option Act is cosponsored in the Senate by U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), and Tom Udall (D-N.M.).

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