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Dean Heller talks health care legislation, rising tensions with North Korea

Dean Heller talks health care legislation and rising tensions with North Korea on Thursday, Aug. 10, 2017 (SBG)

U.S. Sen. Dean Heller says he remains in talks with Gov. Brian Sandoval to bring health care providers back to rural Nevada insurance exchanges.

The Nevada Republican was in Reno on Thursday to celebrate the 100th birthday of local World War II veteran Robert Schratz.

Heller spoke with News 4 about the ongoing issue regarding health insurers leaving the state's "Obamacare exchanges."

The remaining two providers in Nevada - Health Plan of Nevada and Silver Summit Health Plan - are set to only serve exchanges in Clark, Washoe and Nye counties next year, leaving 14 counties without options on the exchange.

They have until the end of next month to fully commit for enrollment next year, and the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange says talks with both providers have been positive.

Heller commented on his stance regarding federal health care legislation. He voted in favor of a "skinny repeal" of the Affordable Care Act, but the bill failed with 48 Democrats and three Republicans voting against it in the Senate.

"I wake up every morning trying to figure out what's best for the state of Nevada, what can I do for Nevada families" he said. "And obviously it got in the middle of this - this health care battle, and I feel real pleased with the way this thing turned out. And we're turning the page now to tax reform."

Heller clarified in a tweet Friday that he was "pleased with my vote to repeal Obamacare, a bill the [president] wanted to sign."

Heller said his position on health care has never changed, and that he has always protected Medicaid in the Silver State.

On rising tensions with North Korea, he called it "a war of words" between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.

"I hope it just stays at a war of words and doesn't escalate from there," Heller said.

He also briefly touched on Republican Danny Tarkanian's announced run for Senate. Heller said he knew he would face a primary challenge in 2018, and that Tarkanian's candidacy comes as no surprise.


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