It will cost the state billions of dollars

Passage of federal health care reform has been on everyone’s minds over the past week. Just one week after its passage, 54 percent of voters favor repealing the health care reform law, according to the Rasmussen Reports.

I have been a vocal opponent of health care reform since it was first proposed. I believe the bill passed by Congress is bad for Nevada, and there are many reasons why.

The mandatory expansion of the Nevada Medicaid program will add more than 41,000 people to the program’s rolls in 2014, expanding Nevada’s Medicaid enrollment by nearly 60 percent by 2019. Overall, the plan will directly cost Nevada taxpayers more than $613 million in state general fund dollars between 2014 and 2019. That is before you take into account the federal government cost share of $1.7 billion for the Nevada Medicaid expansion. Nevada taxpayers will ultimately end up paying for both sides of this expansion, totaling $2.3 billion.

Keep in mind, impacts and costs to states larger than Nevada will be proportionally worse. Nevadans will end up paying part of that tab as well through federal income taxes. This bill mortgages the future of our children and grandchildren with little benefit for most Nevadans.

Under this bill, Nevadans will have to buy health insurance or be fined by the IRS. What’s next in this giant step toward socialism? Will the federal government make you buy a GM to prop up the car manufacturer it bailed out? Our founding fathers would be horrified with the direction our country is heading.

Fourteen states have joined together to sue the federal government over the constitutionality of the health care reform bill. I have requested Nevada’s attorney general join this lawsuit to defend the constitutional rights of all Nevadans.

The price of health care reform is too high for Nevada. We must take swift action to void the bill.

Jim Gibbons, a Repubican, is governor of Nevada.

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