Author: Eureka Sentinel

Health Insurance Rates on Exchange Likely to Go up Without Congressional Action

By Megan Messerly, The Nevada Independent Nevadans who purchase insurance on the health exchange and don’t qualify for subsidies from the federal government saw hefty increases in their premiums last year, and those rates are likely to increase again this year unless Congress takes action in the next few weeks. A deal to stabilize the Affordable Care Act seemed possible as Congress headed toward passing an omnibus spending bill last week, but ultimately fell apart over a debate about abortion restrictions. Now, it seems unlikely that lawmakers in Washington will take up a measure that would provide some assurances as insurance companies prepare to submit their rates to the state in May, and lawmakers here in Nevada aren’t scheduled to meet again until February, ruling out a possible state-level fix, said Heather Korbulic, executive director of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange. “I’m hopeful that we could get something passed in the next four weeks, but I don’t anticipate that’s going to happen,” Korbulic said. Those who purchased insurance on the exchange last year and qualify for federal subsidies — meaning they make up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, or $98,400 for a family of four — were largely shielded from the increases in insurance premiums that went into effect largely as a result of the Trump Administration’s decision to stop funding so-called cost-sharing reduction subsidies....

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March 29, 2018

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Amodei Defends His Office’s Response to a ‘Vulgar’ Phone Call from a Student

By Jackie Valley and Humberto Sanchez, The Nevada Independent Congressman Mark Amodei won’t apologize to a Washoe County high school student who was suspended after delivering profanity-laced remarks to the lawmaker’s office during the national walkout last week. The ACLU of Nevada sent Amodei a letter on Monday, urging him to issue the student — 17-year-old Noah Christiansen who attends Robert McQueen High School — an apology because a complaint from the congressman’s staffer led to a two-day suspension. ACLU officials said Christiansen called the congressman’s office Wednesday and pleaded for lawmakers to “get off their f—ing asses” and enact gun-reform legislation that would help keep children safe at school. Specifically, Christiansen asked the congressman to support raising the minimum age to buy a gun and to ban bump stocks, the weapon modification that accelerates the rate of gunfire. “That very day the constituent was called to the principal’s office and given a two-day suspension for ‘disrespectful behavior/language,’” the ACLU’s executive director, Tod Story, wrote Monday in a letter to Amodei. He also noted that the punishment occurred after “a staff member from your office contacted the constituent’s school to report this phone call.” The suspension wasn’t the only form of discipline, though. The school also isn’t letting the student assume his elected role as the class secretary-treasurer because of the incident, ACLU officials said. Christiansen told The Nevada...

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March 22, 2018

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An ‘Ugly’ Process: Sheriffs, Hospitals Shoulder Burden of Crisis Mental Health Care in Rural Nevadaa

By Megan Messerly, The Nevada Independent No one knows why, but the mental health calls always seem to come in spurts. Just last month, Lincoln County High School went on lockdown twice, once one week and again the next. A woman wandered onto the campus, extremely paranoid, afraid people were after her and speaking in gibberish. The next week, a man wandered into the lobby of the school, asked for a piece of paper and started writing out numbers and letters. He then went out into the common area where kids were milling about before school, started yelling and ripped his shirt off. In each case, the sheriff’s office picked up the individual from the school in Panaca, filled out the paperwork to place the person on a mental health hold and drove them 166 miles south to University Medical Center in Las Vegas. In each case, someone experiencing an acute mental health crisis but who had committed no crime spent two and a half hours riding in the back of a police car, and a deputy trained for the nuances of everyday policing spent five hours off the streets and in the car, trying to get the person to help. Transportation is a problem, but the situation is even worse if there’s nowhere for law enforcement to immediately take the person. In those cases, a patient may sit...

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