Public Health Organizations Applaud Leader Cannizzaro’s Nevada Public Option Bill

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — State and regional public health organizations today announced their support of SB 420, or the Nevada Option, which was introduced yesterday by Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro. Joining a growing slate of advocacy groups and medical professionals, the Nevada Public Health Association, the Nevada Primary Care Association, the Washoe County Health District and the Southern Nevada Health District applaud the efforts of Sen. Cannizzaro, along with the other sponsors and cosponsors of the Nevada Option bill, to bring more affordable and accessible healthcare to Nevadans.

“SB420 and the creation of a public health insurance option represent an important effort by state lawmakers to expand affordable health insurance coverage to Nevadans who have been priced out of the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansions – particularly, employees of small businesses and rural residents of Nevada who currently face high insurance premiums and out-of-pocket expenses,” said John Packham, PhD, Policy Director, Nevada Public Health Association. 

“Nevada’s Community Health Centers know first hand the challenges that patients face when they do not have access to affordable health insurance,” said Nancy Bowen, CEO, Nevada Primary Care Association. “Health centers are among the only facilities where uninsured Nevadans can access primary care services. However, there is a limit to what health centers can do as there are few options for uninsured patients to be referred to and receive specialty care. This ultimately ends with patients in the emergency room, where it is costly to treat preventable or controllable conditions. Moreover, the quality of life is diminished for our neighbors with no affordable way to manage their health. The public option proposed in SB420 is an excellent step forward to increasing the number of residents with affordable, comprehensive coverage. The Nevada Primary Care Association is proud to support this legislation.”

“Any intervention that works to increase access to health care services like improving insurance coverage is something that public health supports,” said Joelle Gutman Dodson of the Washoe County Health District. “Insuring those priced out of the market will help get people not currently addressing their health care needs until they become emergent or unmanageable into providers before it becomes too late to turn around. We support SB 420 and the options it provides to help people participate in preventative medicine.”

“Increasing access to health care by making insurance more accessible is critically important to the overall health of our community,” said Dr. Fermin Leguen, District Health Officer for the Southern Nevada Health District. “Currently, emergency rooms and urgent care facilities are often the only options the uninsured, especially minority and low-income communities, have to address their primary care needs. These facilities are the last resource for people whose health care options are limited and are designed to provide immediate care for acute conditions with limited or no follow up. As a result, the people who are using them as their primary source of health care do not benefit from continuity of care and proper long-term management of any underlying medical conditions they may have like those who are insured do.”

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