CARSON CITY, Nev. — From his spacious office in the Silver State’s historic Capitol, Gov. Brian Sandoval keeps one eye focused on Washington, D.C., as he attempts to mitigate the political and economic minefield that has become the implementation of Obamacare.
The first-term Republican governor opposed the Affordable Care Act and joined the lawsuit challenging the legality of President Barack Obama’s landmark health care law. But after the Supreme Court upheld the statute, he moved ahead with the creation of a state health insurance exchange, deciding he would rather have Nevada shape its citizens’ access to care under the law rather than have federal bureaucrats do it 3,000 miles away.
But that doesn’t mean Sandoval, who is up for re-election in 2014 and has been mentioned as a GOP vice-presidential candidate, is happy with the law’s implications for Nevada’s arduous recovery from what was arguably an economic depression brought on by the 2008 real estate collapse. Nor is the governor pleased with the Obama administration’s slow and uncertain pace for writing the regulations that will dictate how states are supposed to operate under the new health care regime.
In part one of my broad interview with Sandoval: our discussion about Obamacare and his thoughts on an immigration overhaul. As a Hispanic Republican and a former federal judge who both presided over citizenship ceremonies and prosecuted undocumented immigrants for breaking immigration laws, Sandoval shared his unique perspectives on the matter and the bill that is currently winding its way through the Senate.
Q. Let’s talk about the Affordable Care Act. We know about the old debate, but now there’s the new debate about implementation. Is the implementation process making it harder for Nevada businesses to expand, or for other businesses that want to expand into Nevada, is the uncertainty around the Affordable Care Act making things difficult?