"Nevada, with little fanfare or notice, is inching toward a massive health insurance expansion — one that would give the state’s 2.8 million residents access to a public health insurance option.
The Nevada legislature passed a bill Friday that would allow anyone to buy into Medicaid, the public program that covers low-income Americans. It would be the first state to open the government-run program to all residents, regardless of their income or health status."
It's not a done deal yet:
"The bill is currently sitting with Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican. His office did not respond to an inquiry about whether he would sign the bill or veto it."
And some providers don't accept Medicaid:
"In Nevada, Medicaid pays 81 percent of Medicare rates. This has the advantage of keeping Medicaid a relatively low-cost program per person — but also the disadvantage of some doctors deciding not to accept Medicaid’s lower rates."
It is likely that this plan would compete in the marketplace with private insurance, which is sure to raise some hackles in that industry. However, with insurers bailing out in droves, they can't complain too much, and it does open up some options for people.
Since states vary a lot in their Medicaid plans, it isn't a template for national coverage. But opens the window for individual states to try it:
"As to whether other states might follow the Nevada example, that largely depends on what outcomes it has. If it increases coverage significantly at little cost to the government, state legislators elsewhere would likely take notice. But if it ends up covering few people or increasing government costs, Nevada could become a cautionary tale."