Saying Sen. Harry Reid's health care reform bill would cost Nevadans more than a half billion dollars, Gov. Jim Gibbons Thursday urged the rest of Nevada's congressional delegation to vote against it.
He said a mandatory expansion of Nevada Medicaid would add nearly 60 percent more people to the total enrollment between 2014 and 2019, costing Nevada taxpayers more than $613 million in General Fund dollars.
"In addition to imposing this massive tax burden, the bill also removes existing state options, essentially federalizing the program," he said in a statement issued Thursday.
He said the bill increases taxes on businesses and individuals, taxes Medicaid managed care plans and eliminates the medical expense deduction.
"At the beginning of the health reform debate, the Senate Majority Leader and the Obama Administration promised their proposals would lower costs in the private market, expand access to individuals and allow citizens to keep their current coverage if they are satisfied," Gibbons said. "In reality, this bill will cripple or bankrupt the state's General Fund, costing taxpayers money at a time they can least afford it."
Reid spokesman Jon Summers responded that Gibbons is playing politics with the health care issue and "using fuzzy math to do it."
He said the bill will cut insurance premiums for Nevadans by up to $1,600 a year, provides tax credits for up to 24,000 small businesses and $8 million to the state to pay costs of covering additional Nevadans while cutting the national debt nearly $130 billion over the coming decade.
"It's hard to imagine why the governor of a state that is suffering so much is so opposed to helping the people who need it the most," said Summers.