CARSON CITY, Nev. (KLAS) — Nevada lawmakers are staying busy on the second day of the special session as they try to figure out how to fill the state’s $1.2 billion hole; that’s about a quarter of the state’s budget.
State agencies are expected to take a big hit, and Nevada’s Medicaid system could be affected.
During day 2 of the special session, the Nevada Assemly spent most of today talking with the department of health and human services about how their budget will impact nevadans. Hundreds of millions of dollars could be cut from the state’s health care system.
Around 700,000 low-income Nevadans rely on Medicaid, so lawmakers say any large cut to funding is a hard pill to swallow. The Department of Heath and Human Service leaders told the state assembly they’re working on creative solutions to balance their budget.
One option is a 6% rate reduction. That is how much the state pays the hospital or doctor when they treat a patient.
The cut would save the state around $53 million. Another proposal is to eleminate what are labeled as “optional” programs under Medicaid. Such as dental care, hospice care, and physical therapy.
But state lawmakers 8 News NOW spoke with say those programs are essential and with federal matching dollars on the line, they want the federal government to step in.
“We need federal aid, we need the Heroes Act to be paid, we need that money to get into the states to make sure that people are taken care of,” said Assem. Maggie Carlton, D-Clark County, District 14. “We’re talking about the most vulnerable citizens who are going to need these services, and workers who are not going to have jobs and will end up needing health care.”
DHHS adds that they are also planning to put a cap on their case loads. That means they won’t be taking on new patients for things such as as autism treatment, physcial disabilities, and in-home support for the elderly.
Lawmakers say they’re continuing to consider all their options because they want to make a decision that has the smallest possible impact on Nevadans.