Lawmakers move to keep state mammogram funding
Lawmakers on Friday took issue with Gov. Brian Sandoval’s proposed funding change for Nevada’s mobile mammogram screening service, saying it would leave a valuable program scrambling for cash down the line.
The joint meeting of the Assembly Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees rejected the proposal for the Mammovan service, which has screened more than 32,400 women since it began in fiscal year 2002.
The governor’s proposal called for Nevada to halve its annual support for the program to $50,000 and replace that funding with insurer settlement money. The proposal would bring the total support for the program to $125,000 per year for the next two years, with $50,000 coming from the state and $75,000 from the settlement. Settlement money is already part of the funding plan, but Sandoval’s proposal would mean the settlement covers a greater portion of the cost.
The committee voted to retain the state’s annual $100,000 commitment.
Opponents of Sandoval’s proposal said the math is not as simple as it appears.
Sen. Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, noted that the insurance money would run out in fiscal 2013, leaving the screening program scrambling for cash. Horsford also said that although some may frame this as a one-time fix, the next session would end up fighting to recoup the lost money.
“Unfortunately, you have short-term memories in this process,” he said.
Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, said the settlement money could be better used to help the state get ahead of its health care needs instead of filling in financial gaps.
An average of 273 women a month have used the Mammovan this fiscal year, down from 300 a month during fiscal year 2010.