Senate Democrats


New Study Says Senate Bill Could Strip States Rights, Patient Protections

WASHINGTON, DC – A new study shows Nevadans are in danger of losing access to vital health care services under a bill pending in Congress, said U.S. Senator Harry Reid.

The Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act (S. 1955) is commonly known as the Enzi Bill after its sponsor, Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY). It would override state laws on health insurance coverage. For many states, including Nevada, that would mean a loss of consumer protections and a loss of access to many health care procedures.

“This bill is supposed to improve our health care system, but it really makes everything worse,” said Reid. “For hundreds of thousands of Nevadans this would be a step backwards towards worse health care. We need real reform that will help Nevadans, not allow the federal government to rollback the rights and benefits Nevadans already have. That’s why I’m opposing this bill.”

Families USA released a study today showing the affects of the Enzi bill on Nevada and other states. The bill would allow insurers to offer plans without the benefits specified by state legislatures.

In Nevada, that means insurers could refuse to cover services including mammography, cervical cancer and colorectal screening, contraceptives, hormone replacement therapy, mental health care, treatment for alcoholism and drug abuse, home health care and hospice care, ambulance transportation, and supplies and education for diabetes.

The Enzi bill would affect 620,000 Nevadans who now have state regulated insurance policies. The bill would also take away states’ power to regulate insurers and investigate issues like insurance fraud and unfair denial of benefits.

The Enzi bill would increase the cost of insurance for small businesses that have older or sicker workers. It would take away premium rate protections that exist in 49 states, would allow insurers to increase business premiums exponentially if any of their workers are in less than perfect health, and would allow big premium increases based on the sex or age of workers.

“This bill will make health insurance even more unaffordable than it is now,” said Reid. “It won’t help businesses and it won’t help patients. It will only help insurance companies. America deserves a better health care policy than this. We must defeat this bill.”

Reid supports a plan that would help small businesses without threatening existing coverage. It would allow small businesses to pool together for insurance, and give them the same kind of private insurance options senators now enjoy.