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Thursday, May 17, 2007

NM Health Coverage Study Preliminary Results: Health Security Act Option Could Cut Costs

Hallelujah. According to an Albuquerque Journal article on yesterday's meeting of the Richardson-appointed Health Coverage for New Mexicans Committee, preliminary results of a Mathematica study comparing three universal coverage options indicate New Mexico could reap savings by implementing universal health care coverage. Perhaps most compelling was Mathematica's finding that the Health Security Act option -- which would replace the current hodge podge of insurers with a single co-op arrangement to achieve universal coverage -- would result in a potential savings of millions of dollars:

Mathematica estimated that $6.11 billion will be spent in New Mexico on health care in 2007, excluding spending on Medicare and a few other programs the company didn't evaluate. Spending under the proposed Health Security Act, which would eliminate most private insurance and give control of health care financing to a commission, would be $5.93 billion.

The Health Security Act option would utlize a combination of public and private funding. The latest version of the New Mexico Health Security Act was introduced in our January Legislative Session, but became bogged down in committee. The text of that bill can be found here. Similar legislation has been proposed in every Legislative Session since 1993.

Matematica also estimated that the two other options studied would result in small increases in costs to the state:

... Mathematica also evaluated expanding existing public programs, such as Medicaid, to include all the uninsured, and a third approach that would have the state select a variety of private health plans from which people could buy insurance using a state-issued voucher. In that approach, lower-income people would receive state help to buy the insurance.

Expanding public programs would cost $6.3 billion, or less than 3 percent more than the existing system, Chollet said. The third approach, called New Mexico Choices, would cost an estimated $6.7 billion.

According to an Albuquerque Journal article from December of last year:

On October 19, [2006] 11 out of 19 members of Gov. Bill Richardson's Health Coverage for New Mexicans Committee, his third task force on health insurance reform, ranked the New Mexico Health Security Plan as their No. 1 choice to be included in a study that will analyze three different health care reform models and how they impact rising health care costs.

Full Report Set for June Release
As noted in a previous post, the next meeting of the Health Coverage for New Mexicans Committee will be held on from 9 AM to 5 PM on June 21 in Room 322 of the State Capitol building in Santa Fe. The complete results of Mathematica study will be released for that meeting.

For more information on this issue, including links to Mathematica study materials, visit Health Action New Mexico and its Health Care for All campaign.

May 17, 2007 at 12:30 PM in Healthcare, Local Politics | Permalink


It is time to start letting the Governor and policy makers know that we want real reform that deals with managing the cost and covers all people living in New Mexico. Call, email and or write.

Posted by: Charlotte | May 17, 2007 11:07:02 PM

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