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New Mexico Telegram » Featured, Health, New Mexico House, Roundhouse » Health exchange legislation clears first hurdle but with no GOP, industry support

Health exchange legislation clears first hurdle but with no GOP, industry support

A bill that would give the legislature say in how New Mexico’s health insurance exchanges would be created cleared a House committee — but still faces vehement opposition from Republicans in the legislature and Republican governor Susana Martinez.

The House Health, Government and Indian Affairs Committee voted 6-5, on a party-line vote, to pass HB 168, the legislation that would say how to create the health exchange.

The governor’s office has contended that it can do so without the input of the legislature.

The State Department of Health responded in the fiscal impact report that the legislation could cause New Mexico to miss the October 1 deadline.

These deadlines are not negotiable and by passing this bill will definitely affect the State of New Mexico in meeting these strict deadlines. Time would be needed in order to establish the Board of Directors and get the organization up and running. According to CMS, it takes 4 to 6 weeks just for the new exchange to get approved to receive federal funding. This will jeopardize the State’s ability to meet the federal guidelines, will disqualify it from proceeding with a statebased exchange, and will force New Mexicans to settle for access to the federal exchange.

The decision must be made soon, as federal law says the health exchange must be created by October.

The Associated Press reports:

The Martinez administration initially had maintained it could set up an exchange without legislation by using the alliance, but it has been negotiating with lawmakers to avoid a possible court fight over the issue.

However, differences remain between Democrats and the governor — particularly over the powers of the exchange’s proposed governing board.

The Republican opposition has been echoed by the insurance industry.

Written by

Matthew Reichbach has blogged about New Mexico politics since 2006. Matthew was a co-founder of New Mexico FBIHOP with his brother and part of the original hirings at the groundbreaking website the New Mexico Independent. Matthew has covered events such as the Democratic National Convention and Netroots Nation. In addition to politics, Matthew is an avid sports fan, especially of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and TV fan.

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