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December 21, 2014

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Harry Reid: Health care bill won’t work for Nevada

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AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Children’s Health Fund co-founder and singer/songwriter Paul Simon take part in a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2009, to raise awareness of the children who will benefit from President Obama’s proposed health care plan.

Harry Reid

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, left, stands on the floor with Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin on the floor before President Barack Obama spoke about healthcare reform before a joint session of congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009. Launch slideshow »

WASHINGTON - No sooner than the Senate Finance Committee's chairman released his long-awaited health care bill today than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said it's not good enough for Nevada.

Reid is concerned about the cash-poor state's inability to boost Medicaid spending as would be required under the bill.

“While this draft bill is a good starting point, it needs improvement before it will work for Nevada," Reid said in a statement. "During this time of economic crisis, our state cannot afford to shoulder the second highest increase in Medicaid funding."

Reid said he received assurance from the chairman, Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, that the formula would be changed before the bill goes to committee next week.

"I spoke to the Chair of the Finance Committee and he assured me that this bill will be improved for Nevada," Reid said.

"Let me be very clear, I will not bring a health insurance reform bill to the Senate floor that is not good for Nevada.”

One way the legislation plans to cover more uninsured is to make Medicaid available to more people. Right now Medicaid in Nevada covers limited low-income groups -- primarily pregnant women, children and seniors. The bill would expand care to include childless adults. But that would require a 5 percent increase in funding from the state.

Reid's concerns come after a back-and-forth he and Nevada's governor engaged in Tuesday via letters exchanged on the issue.

The majority leader's objection show just how difficult the task before Congress in trying to meet the needs of all lawmakers who have problems with the legislation.

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