Senator, your letter brought me to post this ahead of a publication placement. I hope the context of your work is duly recognized.
“Thank you for that good information.” Such became a routine response from Lieutenant Governor Mark Hutchinson officiating the Nevada Senate’s proceedings following a statement from a senator. With this ubiquitous turn of phrase, the Lt. Governor drew attention to Nevada’s most valuable commodity. Good information is the deciding factor on the success of any economic development project and all public policy.
Senator Dean Heller’s decision to withhold support of Obama Care repeal and replacement legislation enables Nevada to be at the forefront of receiving and providing good information. Had Senator Heller acted as a mere “caucus yes,” Senate Republican leadership would have no reason to include Nevada in further consideration of this bill.
Far more is at stake than the estimated $250 Million cost potentially being shifted to the Nevada taxpayers annually due to proposed Medicaid changes and the necessity of convening a rapid, special session of the Nevada Legislature to address its funding. Substantially worse would be the prospect of Nevada having little or no serious input in health care policy had Senator Heller not insisted on crucial information concerning pre-existing conditions, too.
Nevada has been in a good information boom from the start. In taking this position, Senator Heller continues the achievements of predecessors Senators Pat McCarren (1934–54) and William M. Stewart (1865–1875, 1887–1905), among other legislators.
Senator Pat McCarren, a life long Democrat, stood up to Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he felt that New Deal legislation intruded on individual liberties and state authority. As a result, McCarren crafted federal law so that states regulate the insurance industry, and it remains on the books to this day. In cooperation and communication with the U.S. Air Force and Federal Aviation Administration, Senator McCarren also brokered good information in a fashion uniquely important for Nevada. At this point in time, air traffic transports most of the 83 million people, who visit Las Vegas annually and contribute $85B to the Nevada economy every year.
Senator Stewart, Nevada’s first Senior Senator, ensured that the Executive branch duly considered the State’s wellbeing when it came to land use. In February of 1865 the United States District Attorney and the Register of Land Office were prosecuting Nevadans for cutting timber on public lands. For decades, locals had accessed these lands without surveys, transactions or permits to obtain timber (contemporary marijuana and BLM allusions aside). When the Secretary of Interior did not address Stewart’s concerns, he put the matter directly to President Lincoln.
Already educated on the sourcing of timber in the West, Lincoln asked if Senator Steward knew of two Nevadans, who could serve as District Attorney and Register of Lands. Senator Stewart offered two names and the Attorney General and Secretary of the Interior were directed by the President to commission the appointments accordingly.
In his memoir Senator Stewart notes that President Lincoln after doing so “entered into a pleasant conversation” as if nothing has happened. Quite to the contrary, this exchange marked one of the first times that Nevada’s Senior Senator compelled the President to consider how policies impact Nevadans every day.
Senator Heller now comes forward to tell President Trump that better information is needed before he can approve Obama Care Repeal and Replacement legislation. Like McCarren communicating the importance of state insurance regulation, Senator Heller is conveying the importance of state input. And like Stewart, Heller’s saying pre-existing conditions cannot rule out participation and instead should spur fuller consideration.