On the Issues: Health Care

When I talk with residents in communities across Nevada’s fourth district — from Tonopah to Ely and Mesquite to Elko — one of the first issues they talk about is health care. If I’m elected to Congress, I promise to focus on three key areas of health care: coverage, access, and cost.

Coverage

The Affordable Care Act was landmark legislation that improved the quality of health care and coverage for Nevadans — including reducing the uninsured rate by 44.7 percent.

About 630,000 Nevadans rely on Medicaid for health care coverage. More than 200,000 of those recipients gained coverage under Medicaid expansion thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

More Nevadans are signing up for coverage on the ACA marketplace than ever before. About 90,000 people signed up for health coverage at HealthCare.gov in 2017 — 102 percent of last year’s total sign-ups in Nevada.

My sister — who suffers from a rare neurological disorder — was eligible for health insurance thanks to the pre-existing conditions protections under ACA. Without this law, she and thousands of other Nevadans would have been turned down by health insurance companies.

My family and our state have gained so much under the Affordable Care Act. I lobbied for the law myself — traveling back and forth to Washington more than six times in one year to talk with lawmakers about why Nevadans desperately needed health care reform.

Even with all of the successes, there is still so much work to be done. Right now, 1 in 10 Nevadans lack health insurance. It’s time that we close that gap and secure coverage for all of us.

My dad always said, “when you do your best, you can always do better” — and I have every intention to do better for Nevadans’ health care. When I’m in Congress, I pledge to:

  • Fight for universal coverage
  • Protect the Affordable Care Act from Republican attempts to repeal it so that we can build on the law’s success
  • Stand up for Medicaid and Medicare so that the most vulnerable Nevadans can have access to the care that they need

Access

Nevadans in the fourth district are dealing with a shortage of physicians, too few hospitals in rural areas, and funding shortfalls. We need a leader in Congress that will increase their access to quality, affordable health care.

My son suffers from juvenile arthritis and relies on a doctor from California to travel to Nevada every few months for a routine check up. Our state can’t meet my son’s basic health care needs because Nevada suffers from a shortage of qualified medical professionals.

As a member of the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents, I fought to establish the University of Las Vegas School of Medicine so that we can educate medical leaders right here in Nevada and address our physician shortage.

Nevadans in rural areas have talked with me time and again about the extreme lack of medical facilities in their communities. Many towns across Nevada’s fourth district have no hospital — forcing residents to drive miles to seek medical treatment or simply go without.

One Tonopah High School student told me that he was unable to seek treatment when he suffered second degree burns because there was no hospital in his town. That is completely unacceptable.

Rural hospitals face serious staffing and funding constraints. Nevada has one of the highest percentages of rural hospitals and health centers in the nation. The doctors and nurses at these facilities are often the primary providers of care to the surrounding community, but they simply do not have the adequate resources to serve their patients.

Our representatives in Congress should be working day in and day out to make basic care accessible for Nevadans, and that’s exactly what I plan to do.

The state of rural health care is not sustainable — plain and simple. If elected to Congress, I pledge to:

  • Increase financial support to rural hospitals and community health centers so that they can fulfill their key roles in these communities
  • Bring more hospitals to rural Nevadans because the quality of a person’s health care should not be determined by their zip code
  • Provide incentives and resources necessary to attract quality physicians that can help Nevadans live healthy lives — no matter their condition or location

Cost

One thing is abundantly clear: the cost of health care is out of control. Not only have premiums soared in the past few years, but consumers often don’t know what they are paying for.

Premiums have been on the rise for years, and they are set to increase by as much as 15.2% for patients right here in Nevada. Republicans in Washington caused these increases by allowing the sell of junk insurance plans and actively sabotaging the Affordable Care Act.

On top of paying too much for too little care, consumers simply have no idea what they are paying for in their insurance plans or why their medical bills are so high. We know exactly how much a gallon of milk will cost at the grocery store, but we have no idea how much a lifesaving ride in a ambulance might cost.

I care for my son and handle for the sky-high medical bills that come along with his disability. My sister is in need of constant care to manage her disability. Care is not cheap for many Nevadans, but it should at least be clear what you are paying for.

I’ve spent my entire career working in health care, and I have seen just how confusing the cost of care is. I’m ready to take experience working in dialysis centers and other institutions to Washington so that we can start doing better for Nevadans across our district trying to pay for essential health care services.

Our representatives must ensure that health care costs are both reasonable and transparent so that they can make sound decisions about their care. If elected to Congress, I pledge to:

  • Stabilize insurance markets
  • Lower the cost of health care
  • Work to make health care costs and health insurers more transparent for consumers

In Congress, I will fight for quality, affordable health care. Every Nevadan deserves better health care coverage, increased access, and lower costs. Let’s get to work.