CARSON CITY — A publicly managed, privately contracted lower-cost health care plan to help cut Nevada’s stubbornly high uninsured rate led a list of major end-of-session initiatives moving through legislative committees toward final house approvals on Saturday, with two days left in the 2021 session.
Also advancing: plans for allocating billions in federal pandemic assistance, ditching presidential caucuses for first-in-the-nation primaries, authorizing cannabis consumption lounges and a wide-ranging energy bill aimed at increasing clean energy investments to help Nevada reach its goal of net-zero carbon emissions by mid-century.
All of the measures passed out of committee and on to floor votes in either the Senate or Assembly, possibly later Saturday evening, as both houses worked into the night.
While those and other measures moved through committees, lawmakers late Saturday introduced a long awaited session ending bill to increase taxes on mining and direct the money to education. The bill also would send $200 million in federal pandemic aid to education along with smaller allocations and set up direct reimbursements to elderly or disabled recipients for personal care services covered by Medicaid.
The health care bill, Senate Bill 420, with additional amendments, passed the Assembly Ways & Means Committee and moved to the full Assembly after passing the Senate earlier this week. It would create lower-cost, middle-tier health plans provided by insurers that bid on the state’s Medicaid managed-care contracts and would be offered both on and off the state’s health insurance exchange and to small employer market. Those plans would become available in 2026.
Also moving through committee Saturday:
Senate Bill 461 lays out how the state will allocate the $2.7 billion Nevada will receive under the American Rescue Plan, starting initially by backfilling the pandemic-created general fund revenue gap when that figure is finalized.
Following that, the state would