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Report: 371,000 Nevadans Could Lose Coverage under ACA Repeal

A new report projects 371,000 Nevadans could lose health insurance if the Affordable Care Act is repealed without a replacement.(cllarita/Morguefile)
A new report projects 371,000 Nevadans could lose health insurance if the Affordable Care Act is repealed without a replacement.(cllarita/Morguefile)
February 10, 2017

CARSON CITY, Nev. - More than 370,000 Nevadans could lose health coverage by 2019 if the Affordable Care Act is repealed without a replacement, according to a new report.

The study, from the nonprofit People's Action Institute, also predicted that more that 22,000 people in Nevada would lose their jobs as a result of decreased economic activity in the health-care industry.

Clark County Commissioner Chris Guinchigliani said Congress needs to take these figures into account and slow things down.

"I'm astonished at the numbers," she said. "The impact on the state is absolutely clear cut, and I think Congress needs to take a step back and say, 'Wait a minute. What is it that's broken that you think needs to be fixed before you throw all of our constituents into a panic?' "

Republican leaders have said they are working on a replacement. Proposals floated so far include plans to end the individual mandate to buy insurance and cap federal Medicaid funds with block grants, which could force states to cover fewer people. Giunchigliani said county-owned University Medical Center would be gravely affected if thousands of Medicaid patients lose their coverage and turn to hospital emergency rooms for free care.

Before the ACA, said Amber Howell, director of social services for Washoe County, the county had to spend more than $7.1 million a year to care for people too poor to pay for medical services. She said the county may have to make some cuts in services if its bills for uncompensated care start to increase.

"We've been able to redirect dollars into housing and job-related activities, and shifted our eligibility workers to case work, so it's allowed us to really enhance our services," she said. "We would have to look at whether we'd be able to sustain those types of services if the ACA was reversed."

The study also estimated that if the ACA is repealed without a replacement, Nevada hospitals and medical practices would see their incomes drop by more than $1 billion in 2019, and the state would lose more than $10 billion in federal funding between 2019 and 2023.

The report is online at planaction.org.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - NV