Amodei Says Congress Is Considering Single-Payer Health Care

May 11, 2017

After voting last week in favor of the new Republican-backed health care law, Nevada U.S. Congressman Mark Amodei is offering another option for Congress to consider: single-payer health care.

Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick reports.

Amodei made news last week after voting to pass the American Health Care Act, just days after pledging he was against the measure.

Initially, he said it would kick Nevadans who are part of Medicaid expansion off of the program, leaving them to go to costly emergency rooms for care.

But now he says specific language in the law helps address that issue. That language has always been in the bill, but he says he only noticed it after speaker Paul Ryan pointed it out to him.

“If you’re on Medicaid right now through the expansion, and nothing changes: your income doesn’t go over 138 percent of poverty and you don’t voluntary go to a private plan or the private market, you can stay on Medicaid until you’re 65, in which case you go over to Medicare,” the Congressman says.

Critics of the measure say the vote was rushed without allowing lawmakers a chance to parse through the details.

Amodei says the road ahead for health care legislation is long, and Congress is now considering another option, one championed by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders on the campaign trail: single payer health care.

This would be a dramatic shift from the act passed last week.

“If there’s any timidity about doing it, that’s all out the window,” he says, “when the same day last Thursday, when the President goes up to New York to do that aircraft carrier thing with some guy from Australia, and he goes, ‘Hey this is whoever from Australia. They got great health care there, better than ours, and it’s single payer.’ I’m going, ‘Hell, open season, baby! Let’s see.’”

That guy is Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Amodei says that now the bill has moved to the Senate, there’s plenty of time to listen, to consider, to fact check, and to take a look at what other countries like Australia are doing.

The Congressional Budget Office is currently reviewing the bill. In the meantime, many Americans are questioning the potential impacts this plan could have on their future access to health care.