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Nevada Lawmaker Wants to Eliminate State Health Insurance Marketplace

John Locher / File / AP

FILE - This Nov. 13, 2014 file photo people stand near an insurance store for Nevada Health Link at the Boulevard Mall in Las Vegas.

John Locher / File / AP

The Silver State Health Insurance Exchange started out as a state-run exchange. When it had some troubles with the enrollment system, it became federally-supported.

Republican Assemblymember Brent Jones from Las Vegas says Nevada Health Link has wasted money and the Affordable Care Act has disappointed consumers.

"People were told that they could keep their doctors, that turned out to be a misrepresentation," says Jones.

"We need to get out of this business completely, and not be participating. And then if people want to participate on a federal level, they can do it completely through the federal exchange," he says.

But Governor Brian Sandoval's office says a state-supported exchange is the right way to manage the marketplace now. 

"The Governor has no intent to go to the federal exchange," says Mike Willden, Chief of State for Governor Brian Sandoval. He says his office believes there is a benefit to controlling funds on a state-level.

But the Governor's office has put forward its own legislation that would give more flexibility about how the exchange is run.

That bill, AB 86, would also allow people affiliated with the insurance industry to serve on the exchange's board. Board members who are not state-government employees could also be compensated up to $80 for each day worked. 

The language of the bill that Assemblymember Jones plans to put forward in the next few weeks, now draft bill 1066, has not circulated.  

Nevada Health Link says it would not comment on the proposal until it sees the bill. But it says more than 72 thousand people picked a plan during this past open enrollment period, and it receives no state general funds to operate the exchange.