|I remember when I was a full-time law student with a night job and our car broke down. There was no way we could afford to fix it. I had a baby daughter and my wife was pregnant with our oldest son. We were in a very tight spot. Too many Nevadans feel like this today.
In addition to unemployment benefits, which support Nevadans who are struggling to find work, Medicaid is another way to help people who have low or no income as work becomes harder to find. Medicaid is a jointly funded program with the federal government contributing a portion and the state providing the rest. The State of Nevada is suffering from a budget crisis. The state is struggling to fund obligations like public schools and the Millennium Scholarship. The state is also struggling to meet its share of Medicaid funding at a time when enrollment is up as Nevadans struggle to find jobs and health insurance.
Some of the proposals for health insurance reform call on the states to increase their commitment. But I know that our state can’t handle this. I worked with the Chairman of the Finance Committee to cut a deal providing Nevada full federal funding for people added to Nevada Medicaid under the expansion in the legislation. Under this deal, federal Medicaid dollars flowing into Nevada will increase by more than 30 percent while the state will only have to increase its funding by 1.6 percent. This will give Nevada a chance to recover before it has to increase its share for Medicaid.
I asked for this deal because Nevada is hurting more than most other states. There are some who have been critical of this deal that I secured on behalf of our state, but I believe it is important that Nevada have a chance to recover while taking care of the people who need help the most. This is a real example of how we must act now to make it easier to live a healthy life in America. Nevada needs this help to make quality, affordable health care for all a reality and I will never stop fighting for those in my state and our nation who are hurting the most.
Contact Harry Reid at http://reid.senate.gov/