U.S. Sen. Harry Reid may like it. The Republican state Senate leadership may like it. But Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval‘s decision to expand Medicaid isn’t sitting well with some in the GOP constituency.
Cindy Lake, chairwoman of the Clark County Republican Party, is preparing a statement disagreeing with Sandoval’s decision. The brief statement is slated to be sent to members of Nevada’s largest Republican Party on Friday. It reads:
In response to the announcement that Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval has decided to propose expanding Medicaid in the state – a decision enthusiastically praised by Democrat U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, but rejected by other Republican governors around the country – I can only say that I respectfully disagree.
As our official Republican Party platform states, “We believe that any government control, regulation and/or intervention in health care will diminish quality and availability, and will directly result in increased cost.”
The federal government can’t afford this; the state of Nevada can’t afford this; and Nevada taxpayers can’t afford this. Now, as we continue to suffer from the ongoing Obama Recession, is the time to reduce the size and scope of government, not expand it.
Yours in Conservative Battle,
Cindy Lake, Chairwoman, Clark County Republican Party
Sandoval is the first Republican governor to decide to expand a state’s Medicare program under the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. The governor previously set up a state health-insurance exchange in compliance with the law.
In an interview with the Review-Journal editorial board on Wednesday, Sandoval said he decided to expand the program after studying the financial impact on the state. He said Nevada will actually save money under the program, by moving some mental health patients from a state-funded portion of the Medicaid program to one funded by the federal government.
But the health-care plan remains controversial with conservatives, who question the fact that borrowed funds will underwrite state medical expenses, adding to national deficits and debt. Sandoval acknowledged those concerns in his Wednesday interview, but said he couldn’t punish 78,000 Nevadans who will become eligible for health insurance under the expanded Medicare program.
Lake’s statement highlights the ongoing divisions within Nevada’s Republican Party between establishment Republicans such as Sandoval, and more conservative Republicans who generally line up behind political figures such as Texas Congressman Ron Paul. Conservatives have taken over most leadership positions in the state and Clark County Republican parties, even though Sandoval — as the top elected Republican in Nevada — is ostensibly the titular party leader. But Sandoval skipped the 2012 party convention in Sparks, and hasn’t moved to take an active leadership role in the state’s GOP.
In other reactions, the Nevada State Medical Association and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network have praised Sandoval for expanding Medicaid. The move was also supported by nearly all public and private hospitals in the state.