Washoe Assemblymember Michael Sprinkle came out of this year’s Nevada Legislature with increased visibility after winning approval of a state health care plan that attracted wide attention. After getting the Nevada Care Plan—a Medicaid for all program—enacted by lawmakers, Sprinkle saw it vetoed by Gov. Brian Sandoval.
How did you feel when the veto came down?
It was a little disheartening. I was kind of getting the good sense that the governor was in favor of the bill and so when it was vetoed, yes, it was a little disheartening. But, you know, we still need to move on and could take a look at other options for making sure that people in Nevada have affordable health care.
Did you have a chance to make your case to him?
Well, the thing was that I had a working group during the entire legislative session that pretty much contained all of his different department heads. So I had his chief of staff there. I had the head of Health and Human Services. I had the head of Medicaid. I had the head of the health insurance exchange, and of course the insurance commissioner. That was my working group. So he certainly—and his office certainly—understood exactly the direction we were going with all of this.
If you go back, are you going to try again?
You know, there are going to be so many different things that come into play as far as answering that question, whether I try again with this specific bill. Certainly the elections next year are going to play a part in what this looks like. However, I’ve been committed since I was in high school to the rights of everybody, including the right to health care and having a healthy life, and so I am always going to be looking at ways to make sure that Nevadans are given the opportunity to afford good health care.
And who knows what’s going to happen in Congress between now and then.
We’ve been dealing with that since the last election and, you know, it’s an impossible thing to answer right now. Things change every day in Washington D.C., so we just need to focus on Nevada, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.
What made you take on something so ambitious?
It’s important to me. It’s been important to me for many, many years, and this was the right time and the right opportunity. At the start of the session, we didn’t know exactly what it was going to look like, but certainly about the time the bill was introduced. And then what we were finally able to get the legislation I was very proud of.