The New Mexico Health Security Plan: Covering New Mexico
Today, we pay for a segmented system of hundreds of insurance plans that create a costly and complex administrative system. The Health Security Plan is based on the old-fashioned concept of insurance, where the young, the old, the healthy, and the not so healthy are all in one large insurance pool. The risk is shared, while administrative costs are reduced. Doesn’t this make sense for a state with a small population?
The Health Security Act will enable New Mexico to set up its own health plan. It is a New Mexico solution with years of input from diverse New Mexicans.
The Health Security Act:
- Shifts private insurance to a supplemental role, as Medicare did when it was established.
- Sets up our own health plan—the Health Security Plan—that covers most New Mexicans.
- Exclusions: Active-duty and retired military, along with federal retirees, will maintain their own plans. Tribes and health plans covered under ERISA will have the option to join the Plan. All other New Mexicans will be covered under the Plan.
- Creates an independent, non-governmental commission to administer the Plan. This citizens’ commission is geographically representative and publicly accountable.
- Maintains the private health care delivery system.
- Does not require new taxes.
- The Plan is paid for by combining existing public dollars spent on health care (Medicaid, Medicare) with income-based premiums and employer contributions (both are capped).
- If federal premium subsidies and tax credits continue, these will also be included.
After Passage of the Act, a Carefully Considered Approach:
✔ The first year and a half will be devoted to financial feasibility issues. The bipartisan Legislative Finance Committee will be responsible for determining, with public input and the help of outside experts, total cost and revenue sources. New Mexico residents will have ample opportunity to review and react to different financing options.
✔ After completion of the financial analysis, the legislature will decide whether to proceed. The Plan will not be implemented until the legislature determines that it is financially viable. The details will then be developed, with public input, and any needed waivers will be applied for so the Plan can begin operations and receive all available federal tax credits and subsidies.
The Plan Guarantees:
- Health care coverage for all eligible New Mexicans (see exclusions above), regardless of age, income, employment, or health status.
- Freedom of choice of health care provider and hospital, even across state lines.
- Comprehensive services, no less than those currently offered to state employees.
- Protections for retirees so they will not lose what they already have.
According to numerous independent studies, including two conducted for New Mexico, covering all or most state residents under one health risk pool will reduce health expenditures by hundreds of millions of dollars. The Health Security Plan is the only New Mexico proposal that would alleviate the financial stress on our state budget as well as on families and businesses.
Now that Congress is in the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act, it is more important than ever for New Mexico to enact this well-vetted, homegrown plan.
For a printable PDF, click here.