Gov. health care access bill clears House
House Bill 100 is part of governor’s legislative package
that will lower drug costs, increase access to high-quality health care
SANTA FE – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Tuesday issued the following statement after House Bill 100, increasing access to and affordability of health insurance for New Mexico families, was approved by the House:
“Every single New Mexican should have access to high-quality and affordable health care. That is a non-negotiable priority of my administration, and we are moving aggressively to ensure it is a reality in communities all across our state. House Bill 100, alongside other key health care legislation like Senate Bill 1 and House Bill 292, will make a meaningful difference for thousands of families and children all across our state. Our goal is simple: Costs will be lower; care will be more accessible and better. We are going to deliver on these essential health care necessities for New Mexicans and make continued investments and improvements for tomorrow.”
House Bill 100, co-sponsored by Rep. Debbie Armstrong and Rep. Micaela Cadena, empowers BeWellNM, the New Mexico health insurance exchange to operate as a fully-state based exchange meeting the needs of families seeking coverage in New Mexico and promoting access to more affordable, higher-quality insurance plans.
Under the federal Affordable Care Act, New Mexico has seen a decrease of uninsured residents through the expansion of Medicaid and the creation of the state-based health insurance exchange. BeWellNM serves New Mexicans who do not have insurance through employment and are ineligible for Medicare or Medicaid.
The state exchange serves around 45,000 New Mexicans. But recent data shows that another 43,000 New Mexicans eligible for financial assistance to purchase BeWellNM plans remain uninsured. “Cost remains a barrier for far too many New Mexicans,” the governor said.
House Bill 100 codifies Affordable Care Act requirements for state-based health insurance exchanges and authorizes beWellNM to continue moving toward becoming a fully state-based exchange. The legislation empowers the exchange to, among other items:
- Establish standardized plans, which help limit out-of-pocket costs for services like primary care and behavioral health;
- Establish third-party payment programs for cities, counties and tribal governments, among other entities, to pay premiums and cost-sharing on behalf of qualified individuals;
- Provide for a regular enrollment period as well as special enrollment periods beyond current federal timeframes;
- Better integrate with Medicaid and other programs upon enrollment.
The governor has also endorsed legislation that will ultimately reduce the cost of prescription drugs for New Mexicans by authorizing the state Department of Health to explore the importation of medicine from Canada. Senate Bill 1 has advanced through the full state Senate and on Friday was unanimously endorsed on a bipartisan vote by the House Health and Human Services Committee.
And the governor is pushing for the approval of House Bill 292, a measure that will cap the out-of-pocket cost charged by insurance companies for insulin at $50 a month no matter what type or the number of insulin prescriptions the patient needs. The price of insulin in the U.S. has more than doubled since 2012. This law will help thousands of New Mexicans with diabetes by making insulin, the life-sustaining medicine essential to their survival accessible at a lower price.