The bill was criticized by some for not having enough consumer advocates and being too tilted towards the health insurance industry. However, it passed with bipartisan support in both chambers of the Legislature.
“As I said during my State of the State address, I didn’t support Obamacare, but it is the law of the land. My job is to implement this law in a way that best serves New Mexicans,” said Martinez in a statement. “For over 18 months, we have been working to design, build, and implement a health insurance exchange that meets the unique needs of New Mexicans. This legislation builds on those efforts, which had already received conditional approval from the Obama administration, and represents a tremendous amount of hard work and compromise shared by my administration, the legislature, advocates, and the healthcare industry. We still have plenty of work left to do, but I am confident that, working together, we can get it done.”
If New Mexico did not create its own health insurance exchange, the federal government would set up its own exchange. Several Republican governors have refused to create a state-based exchange — leading those states to ironically have their health insurance exchagnes run by the Obama administration.
“This may not be a perfect solution, but it is a start that helps keep New Mexico on the path towards the creation of a unique solution for New Mexicans,” sponsor Sen. Benny Shendo, D-Jemez Pueblo, said. “I am pleased we were able to accomplish passage of this legislation and look forward to working on the exchange for years to come.”
“Once enacted, this new statute will provide a framework to establish an exchange for New Mexicans, by New Mexicans,” House sponsor Rep. Tom Taylor, R-Farmington, said in a statement. “I appreciate the hard work of the governor and everyone involved to help pass this legislation.”