Ralston Reports
Sandoval: Heller talking about preventing Medicaid rollback from happening
Jon Ralston

Yes, it was only a picture.

But the picture could be worth 300,000 affected lives in Nevada.

Gov. Brian Sandoval tweeted the picture above from Sen. Dean Heller’s office on Monday, adding these telling words: “Working together w/ @SenDeanHeller to preserve coverage for more than 300k Nevadans. #AllNV #nvleg

It’s hard to mistake what the governor, who supported the Medicaid expansion in Obamacare, was saying here: Heller is on board with preserving the program as the president and congressional Republicans contemplate rolling it back or capping it.

(I emailed Heller’s spokesman and chief of staff about the message, but I have not heard back from them for a comment since about 1864.)

I asked Sandoval’s spokeswoman if I had misunderstood the tweet, and Mari St. Martin essentially reaffirmed it: “They talked about ways to ensure coverage for the 300 thousand Nevadans in the expansion population.”

This is news, especially because Heller has been an ardent foe of the Affordable Care Act and has consistently voted to repeal the measure, including as recently as last month. Sandoval, who opposed the ACA, has not wavered from the benefits of the Medicaid expansion, telling the Washington Post this week while in DC for the National Governors Association: Medicaid “has been very beneficial to my state.”

(Not sure why the governor used the Nevada Legislature hashtag in his tweet, but he probably wanted to let lawmakers know about Heller’s apparent change of heart, too.)

INDY FAST FACTS Dean Heller Job: U.S. Senator Party: Republican In current office: 2011-present Birthdate: May 10, 1960 Education: University of Southern California (B.A.) Other public offices held: Member of the U.S. House of Representatives Nevada's 2nd Congressional District (2007-2011) Nevada Secretary of State (1995-2007) State Assemblyman (1990-1994) Total donations: $21,463,574 (2005-2018) Top donors: Station Casinos $115,200 Votesane PAC $92,000 MGM Resorts International $74,000 Blackstone Group $48,400 Capital Group $38,800 Credit: Center for Responsive Politics
INDY FAST FACTS Brian Sandoval Job: Nevada Governor Party: Republican In current office: 2011-present Birthdate: August 5, 1963 Education: University of Nevada, Reno (B.A.) Ohio State University (J.D.) Other public offices held: U.S. District Court Judge (2005-2009) Nevada State Attorney General (2003-2005) Nevada Gaming Commission Chair (1999-2001) Nevada Gaming Commission Member (1998-2001) State Assemblyman, District 25 (1994-1998) Total donations: $4,984,248 (1/07/11 - 7/5/17) Top donors: Caesars Entertainment $245,000 Station Casinos $158,072 MGM Resorts International $160,000 Wynn Resorts $80,000 Marnell Properties LLC $70,000
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