NBC News3: The Pandemic's Impact on Nevada 19_NBC3_pandemic_impact_on_nevada

June 21, 2024 02:21 PM


1. Who wrote this report and what did it find?
A: The Nevada Department of Health and Human Services Office of Analytics wrote the report, and it looked at how the Covid-19 pandemic damaged the state of Nevada.
It reiterated many things we already knew about the negative impacts of the pandemic, that have been reported on this station, and around the country: they don’t as a surprise that the pandemic cost lots of people their jobs, at least temporarily, lead to a huge loss of life, increase in homelessness, substance use, crime, led to students test scores decreasing from before the pandemic.
But it did find that an upside was that consumers toward the end of the pandemic spent more and helped the economy — people in Nevada spent $18 billion more on services in 2022, than they did in 2019 before the pandemic, and spent $16 billion more on goods in 2022 compared to 2019.
2. What did the report find about Medicaid use among residents?
A: Medicaid is a federal government health insurance for low-income people who qualify. Its paid for both by federal and state governments, and each state government runs its own Medicaid program.
In 2022, more than a quarter of Nevadans were on Medicaid, that’s a 40% increase from March 2020 when the pandemic began.
This is because the federal government told states not to kick people off Medicaid if they no longer qualified, if they went back to work, their income increased. This was called “continuous enrollment” and it just ended this spring, and people who are no longer eligible have had their coverage ended.
But during those pandemic years, Medicaid was a huge portion of state spending, Medicaid accounted for 30% of state expenditures in FY 2022 — almost one third of state spending.
In 2022, $3.6 billion was spent providing health care to Nevadans on Medicaid, compared to $3 billion in 2017.
3. How does this compare to other states?
A: All the states were operating under this “continuous enrollment” policy that once you got Medicaid coverage at the beginning of the pandemic, you stayed on until just this year.
So all the states saw an increase in Medicaid spending.
The expansion cost the states collectively an estimated $20 billion every year it was in place, while the federal government spent an extra $168 billion a year on it.
In FY 2023, Medicaid was tied with Medicare, which is for seniors, as the top cause of improper payments in the federal government. Improper payments are payments the government accidentally sends to the wrong person or for the wrong amount.
There were $50 billion worth of improper payments from Medicaid in 2023 around the country, it was $81 billion in 2022, and $98 billion in 2021.
So you have Medicaid bleeding money and costing the state of Nevada almost one-third of its budget. Now that the “continuous enrollment” policy has ended and people who no longer qualify will find other insurance options, and should free up some money for the state.
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