New Mexico To Discuss Health Insurance Coverage Expansion

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New MexicoGov. Bill Richardson (D) might call a special session of the state Legislaturein May, but Senate leaders say they need more time to reach an agreement onhealth care proposals, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports. During the legislativesession that ended in February, lawmakers rejected Richardson's plan to cover 400,000 uninsuredstate residents. Many lawmakers cited costs as a reason for not supporting themeasure.

Richardson hasmet with Senate leaders since the end of the session to discuss elements of apotential agreement. He also has requested greater accountability andefficiencies in the state health care system. Richardson spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos inan e-mail said, "The governor has tried to work with Senate leaders tomove this issue forward and forge an agreement on health care before a specialsession," adding, "But Senate leaders have only met once, and therehas been no progress whatsoever. The governor will now meet with House leaders,and he is inclined to hold a special session in May."

Senate President Pro Tempore Tim Jennings (D)and Majority Leader Michael Sanchez (D) said questions remain about Richardson's proposal andfall is a more realistic time to further discuss the matter. Jennings in astatement said, "Every New Mexican deserves to be able to get good,affordable health care when they need it," adding, "We are committedto making sure that happens," but "reforms necessary to achieve thatgoal are quite complex and need to be worked out over time." According toSanchez, "We're making progress, and I'm hopeful that in a few more monthswe can hold a productive special session that will get us closer to ourgoal" (Nash, Santa Fe New Mexican, 4/11).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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