A Win . . . and What's Next

Celebrating a Win

The 2019 legislative session was a game changer for everyone involved in the Health Security for New Mexicans Campaign. 

For years, the Health Security Act laid out a simple "look before you leap" approach:

  1. Complete a fiscal analysis of the Health Security Plan.

  2. If the numbers look good, proceed with implementation of the Plan. 

Because the NM legislature set aside funding to complete a fiscal analysis of the Health Security Plan, we now move into phase 1 of this process!

This 2019 legislative session brought one surprise after another, but the end result moves us forward exactly as actually passing the Health Security Act would have done.

What's Next?

It might be tempting to stop right here and savor this huge step forward for a while. But too many people still don't know about the Health Security proposal.

While the Legislative Finance Committee* is overseeing the fiscal analysis, we'll be busy educating more and more New Mexicans about the Health Security Plan. If you're part of an organization that might be interested in learning about Health Security, please let us know. And, of course, please keep talking about the Health Security Plan to people you meet!

Once we know more about the fiscal analysis process, we'll keep you updated on that, along with the Legislative Finance Committee's meetings, which are open to the public.

We'll also keep you updated on the latest health care developments at the state and national levels. While we were concentrating on the legislature last week, the White House released a new budget calling for deep cuts to the US Health & Human Services Department and for a repeal of the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion, which has been responsible for dramatically reducing the number of uninsured New Mexicans.

* What is the Legislative Finance Committee? The LFC is a committee made up of senators and representatives from both parties that meets periodically while the legislature is not in session. Because it's bipartisan and bicameral, both political parties and both houses of the legislature have a role. The LFC will likely contract with outside experts to undertake the actual analysis. 

Keep Health Security Going!

We’ve accomplished a lot in the last year, but there’s still more to do! Please support this important work with your donation today.

HM 92 Passes House!

This evening, House Memorial 92 easily passed the House floor. There was no debate on the memorial, and the vote was 46-18:


The memorial was introduced earlier this week by Health Security Act sponsors Reps. Bobby Gonzales and Gail Chasey. It requests the Legislative Finance Committee (an interim committee made up of both senators and representatives) to conduct a fiscal analysis of the Health Security Plan.

With the funding to complete the fiscal analysis already in the budget bills, this memorial simply provides additional guidance to the Legislative Finance Committee and makes it known that the NM House is in favor of costing out Health Security!   

House Memorial 92

Now, a Memorial (the Legislative Kind!)

A memorial about the Health Security Plan (House Memorial 92) was introduced this afternoon in the House by Reps. Bobby Gonzales and Gail Chasey, who are also sponsors of the Health Security Act (HB 295).

While a memorial requests an action rather than requires it, our legislative supporters feel it is important for the House to make a statement about the importance of the Health Security Plan and the need for the fiscal analysis. 

The memorial makes it clear that the Legislative Finance Committee is to undertake this analysis as described in HB 295 and SB 279. As noted yesterday, the actual appropriations for the fiscal analysis are in the budget bills.

HM 92 was assigned to the House Appropriations & Finance Committee and was quickly heard by the committee following the House floor session. The memorial passed House Appropriations & Finance on a unanimous vote (yay!) and should be reported out on the House floor tonight.

What's Next?

After being reported out of committee, HM 92 will be placed on the House floor calendar. If we're lucky, the memorial will be heard tomorrow.  

So what's next? First, we want to stop right here and thank all of our incredible supporters. You've been there every step of the way--making calls, asking your friends and networks to call, waiting for hearings, waiting some more for hearings, and telling legislators why you want Health Security to move forward. 

We are so grateful for your support, day in and day out. And it really has made a difference! 

Funding the Fiscal Analysis

As we reported in the last post, the money is in the budget for the Legislative Finance Committee to complete a fiscal analysis of the Health Security Plan. (The Legislative Finance Committee is a legislative committee made up of senators and representatives that meets outside of the legislative session.)

The two supplemental budget bills have now been officially approved by their respective committees, and the House bill (HB 548) has already been passed by the full House. 

HB 548 has $275,000 allocated for a fiscal analysis of the Health Security Plan, and the Senate bill (SB 536) has $114,000. That's a total of $389,000!

HB 548:

HB 548 appropriation.JPG

SB 536:

SB 536 appropriation4.JPG

This is a huge achievement! Remember, the original 2019 Health Security Act called for an appropriation of $375,000 for the Legislative Finance Committee to oversee a fiscal analysis to make sure the Health Security Plan is economically viable. 

The Health Security Plan itself could not get enacted until the 2021 legislative session--when, with the fiscal analysis in hand, the legislature would need to vote to move forward with setting up the Plan.
With the legislature, nothing is ever certain, but at this point it looks as though we're on track with finally getting the fiscal analysis of the Health Security Plan completed.

Bottom line: There's more than one way to get things done!

Update on Both Houses

With one week to go in the legislative session, this is where we’re at:

Senate Bill 279

SB 279 is still in the Senate Judiciary Committee and is once again on the agenda, for Monday, March 11. The committee will meet in Room 321 after the Senate floor session ends.

There's so much going on, and we know it's very frustrating to take the time to come to the committee meetings and sit for hours without the bill being heard. 

If it's convenient for you to come on Monday (and wait!), please do so. Otherwise, at this point in the session, it's probably more important for the bill to be heard quickly than for the committee to hear lots of testimony in person. Thanks to all your phone calls, the Senate Judiciary Committee knows very well how much public support this bill has! 

House Bill 295

House Bill 295 was tabled last week in the House Appropriations & Finance Committee--along with a lot of other bills, and without a hearing. 

We asked for calls last week to the House Appropriations chair, Rep. Lundstrom, and the Speaker of the House to encourage the chair to re-release the bill to the House floor. It was on the House floor in the first place because the chair had previously released it from her committee. (Bills that are tabled can also be untabled and heard in committee.) 

While you flooded Rep. Lundstrom and House Speaker Egolf with calls, HB 295 has not, at this time, been either released or heard. 

However, funds for the fiscal analysis of the Health Security Plan are included in HB 548, commonly known as HB2 junior. This supplementary budget bill contains a lot of funding for different projects, and $275,000 has been set aside for the Legislative Finance Committee to complete the fiscal analysis. 

Additional funds have been set aside in the Senate's version of HB2 junior. We've been told $125,000 is in the Senate bill for the analysis, but we are waiting to see the actual bill when it's available. The 2019 Health Security Act originally included an appropriation of $375,000 for the fiscal analysis. Now it looks like there is a total of $400,000 to cost out the Health Security Plan!

Tuesday Morning Update

At around 8:00 PM on Sunday, March 3, the NM House of Representatives began to debate the Health Security Act (HB 295) on the House floor. 

In the confusion that followed Rep. Patricia Lundstrom's question about why the bill hadn't been heard in her committee (House Appropriations & Finance), the Speaker of the House, Brian Egolf, referred HB 295 back to that committee, with the understanding that the bill would be brought back to the House floor the following day, after House Appropriations & Finance had met.

As of this morning, HB 295 is still in House Appropriations & Finance, but there are discussions taking place and things seem to be moving forward.

On the Senate side, SB 279 is currently scheduled for a hearing in Senate Judiciary on Wednesday afternoon, after the Senate floor session ends.

For the latest on the Health Security Act, sign up for our email alerts.

House Floor, Here We Come!

HB 295 Moves to the Floor

Yesterday, we wrote that we were working to get HB 295 (the Health Security Act in the House) released from the House Appropriations & Finance Committee so it could go straight to the House floor. 

We just received word that HB 295 has indeed been withdrawn from House Appropriations and is now on the House's Temporary Calendar!

After HB 295 moves from the Temporary Calendar to the Third Reading Calendar, it will be up for a vote by the entire House of Representatives. The vote could take place as soon as Sunday.

For the latest on the Health Security Act, sign up for our email alerts.

Thursday Night Update

Senate Side (Senate Bill 279)

SB 279 has not yet been scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. It's that time in the legislative session when there are a lot of politics going on -- and unfortunately, politics that have nothing to do with Health Security can still slow the bill's progress. We're working hard to get SB 279 on the agenda in Senate Judiciary as soon as possible.

House Side (House Bill 295)

HB 295 is now in the House Appropriations & Finance Committee, but since the appropriation was removed from the bill at its previous committee hearing, we're hoping HB 295 will be released from House Appropriations and be sent to the House floor for a final vote.  As on the Senate side, this is a very busy time in the legislative session, and there's a lot going on behind the scenes. 

For the latest on the Health Security Act, sign up for our email alerts.

HB 295 Passes Second Committee

HB 295 (the Health Security Act in the House) is finally moving again!

The House State Government, Elections & Indian Affairs Committee passed HB 295 this afternoon by a vote of 5 to 3.

HB 295 House State Govt.JPG

We had great testimony in favor of Health Security, with supporters doing a wonderful job of keeping their testimony short and to the point. With the hearing starting around 2:00 PM and the House floor session scheduled to start at 3:00, we were racing against the clock.

The usual suspects--lobbyists for the insurance industry, and the NM Association of Commerce and Industry--spoke in opposition. 

The bill passed along party lines, with one committee member absent.

For the latest on the Health Security Act’s journey through the legislature, sign up for our email alerts.

Update at the Halfway Mark

Second Hearings on the Horizon

Halfway through the 2019 legislative session, the Health Security Act (HB 295 and SB 279) has passed its first committee in each house and is waiting to be heard in the State Government, Elections & Indian Affairs Committee in the House and the Judiciary Committee in the Senate. 

When will these hearings on the Health Security Act be held? Possibly the end of next week; if not, then the following week. As we've mentioned before, there's an enormous number of bills out there—1,295, to be exact, not counting placeholder bills!—and that's slowing things down. 

In terms of time, we have an advantage because the Health Security Act is working its way through both houses simultaneously. Why is that advantageous? If HB 295 passes the full House, it won't be assigned a lot of committees in the Senate, since those committees will have already heard the bill. And that means the bill can move more quickly toward the Senate floor. (For a refresher on the journey a bill takes, click here.)

For the latest on the legislative session, sign up for our email alerts.

NM Medical Society Support

New Mexico Medical Society Supports Passage of Health Security Act

Last Thursday, four proponents of the Health Security Act had the chance to speak in front of the Senate Public Affairs Committee. One of them was Dr. Rick Madden, who spoke on behalf of the New Mexico Medical Association. 

We'd like to share his remarks with you:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. Thank you for allowing me to speak. I am speaking representing the New Mexico Medical Society, our state professional organization for physicians.

I'm a family physician in Belen. I've been there 34 years. The Medical Society took up the Health Security Act a couple of years ago in our house of delegates, and we decided that we wanted to support the Health Security Act in 2017. We still stand by that. Particular emphasis, at the beginning of this bill, is fiscal analysis, and that's particularly what the Medical Society wants to support. Can we afford this? Will it provide what it says it will provide for the number of people?

As a practicing family physician, I can tell you many times over the years I've seen patients who did not have healthcare coverage leave my practice after one visit because they couldn't afford the next visit. When they got care under expanded Medicaid, or they got an employer that was able to cover it, they came back. The key is that their health improved. They were able to provide for their families because they could keep their job. That helped the economy; that helped the wealth of the state. . . .

The Medical Society does support this and for good reasons, for the care of our patients. I also, on another note, represent the New Mexico Academy of Family Physicians. I'm the Chair of the Legislative Affairs Committee, and we also support this bill. Thank you very much.

Dr. Madden (standing, far right) speaks to the Senate Public Affairs Committee on February 7 regarding SB 279.

Dr. Madden (standing, far right) speaks to the Senate Public Affairs Committee on February 7 regarding SB 279.

The next two hearings on the Health Security Act should be coming up soon. We'll let you know as soon as they're scheduled.

HB 295 will be heard next in the House State Government, Elections & Indian Affairs Committee, and SB 279 will be heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Keep Us Going!

You might be surprised to know that even with the legislature in session, we haven't slowed down one bit with our education and outreach efforts. 

We're talking with community leaders, community groups, and everyday New Mexicans in towns and cities across the state, and we're reaching out to media contacts to inform even more people about the Health Security Act. And, of course, we're keeping you involved and up to date with email alerts and this website. 

Please support this important work with 
your donation today.  

Great Start for Health Security in the House

The House Health & Human Services Committee passed the Health Security Act (HB 295) this morning by a vote of 5 to 2!

After hearing from two lobbyists who spoke in opposition to the bill, the committee turned to all those who came to speak in favor of the Health Security Act. Speakers included medical professionals, small-business owners, representatives of community organizations, and lots of other New Mexicans who came to speak about how this bill would help them, their family members, and our beautiful state.

Listen to the hearing here, or click on the image below.

HB 295 now heads to the House State Government, Elections & Indian Affairs Committee.

For the latest developments, please sign up for our email alerts.