As mentioned earlier today, the Nevada Legislature talked health care when the Joint Finance Committee took on a key part in implementing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Silver State Health Insurance Exchange was created in 2011 to comply with the ACA's requirement to set up exchanges to provide patients with more affordable health insurance plans. So why was tjere a hearing today? Well, it's complicated.
Senator & Joint Finance Chair Joyce Woodhouse (D-Henderson) and Assembly Member Paul Aizley (D-Paradise) asked Exchange Director Jon Hager about progress on developing the Exchange. Here's some of what Hager said.
But wait, there's more. And yes, this is where Congress' latest & greatest manufactured crisis kicks in. As Steve Benen and others have noted, we're even seeing Republicans starting to decry the many harmful effects of this manufactured crisis. And as we're finding out the hard way, it may even affect our health care.
While President Obama and (federal) Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius insist they are doing everything they can to maximize the ACA even with minimal funds, it's hard to see how the Affordable Care Act will be completely unscathed in the wake of federal budget cuts. And what may make this situation even worse is how notoriously cheap Nevada's state government most often is. Can a convergence of state & federal austerity threaten health care reform?
That's what we'll have to watch for in the coming weeks and months. Rollout of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange is slated for October. And perhaps as long as the state properly funds its end of the equation while Congress gets its act together on the federal budget, things will work out just fine.
But if American austerity continues, health care reform may have a bumpy road ahead. Again, the Obama Administration is working to find ways to deliver health care to patients even with current tight budgets. That delivery may just be made more complicated than it needs to be.