Written by Akkana Peck (Los Alamos)
State-based SP organizations
Health Security Act (NM) Support Group, https://www.nmhealthsecurity.org/
Many national organizations with NM chapters listed.
State-based SP bills
none in 2021
A “Junior Bill” (SB377), an auxiliary bill to the unsuccessful HB203 (in 2020), was funded “for the Health Security planning and design phase [of the Health Security plan],” so HSA planning continues.
Sponsors from 2019: Sen. Carlos R. Cisneros, Gerald Ortiz y Pino, William Soules, Richard C. Martinez, Peter Wirth (Maj Floor Leader); Rep Deborah A. Armstrong, Roberto “Bobby” J. Gonzales, Gail Chasey, Patricia Roybal Caballero, Joanne J. Ferrary, Micaela Lara Cadena, Susan K. Herrera, William Pratt, Angelica Rubio, Elizabeth Thomson
HB272 Health Easy Enrollment Program passed in the legislature and was awaiting the governor’s signature. It is designed to help low-income people get signed up with either Medicaid or an ACA Exchange plan.
(Other progressive bills did not pass.)
Obstacles to SP in the current context
NM is hampered by its very short legislative sessions. Many reps are supportive but they file more bills than they can discuss and vote on, so it takes many years for bills to work their way through.
Every other year is a short session that’s supposed to be only budget-related bills, but so far nothing has come from it..
Plus the usual opposition from organized insurance and health care provider lobbyists.
Many residents working for government labs or agencies who won’t be included in a statewide single-payer plan. Large Indian population, with unique legal issues there. (These are not obstacles to implementing SP, but they need to be taken into account.)
Advantages for SP in current context
The Health Security fiscal analysis showed that the SP Health Security Act plan would lead to universal coverage while costing less than the current system. Two other studies agree. https://www.nmhealthsecurity.org/studies-articles
NM is well positioned for considering SP: much of the state is rural and there are many areas where it’s difficult to get either insurance or care, and we have a high proportion of residents on Medicaid. So health coverage is challenging here already; and single-payer should be able to help address those challenges.
League of Women Voters-NM has several individuals who can lobby for some healthcare issues and are authorized to speak for the League.
Goals for SP movement in NM 2019-2020
Health Security Act group will be using the “Junior Bill” to set up a commission to plan for the details of how the Act will work. HSA will continue education and advocacy activities in preparation for mobilizing people
when the study finishes.
Where can people find news about Single Payer in your state and/or join a group?
Health Security for New Mexico Campaign (w/ over 150 member organizations listed)
https://www.nmhealthsecurity.org/ (click “get involved”) / Hsncm.firstname.lastname@example.org