NM Governor Announces Health Care Plans

January 29, 2004 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has laid out his "Health Care Agenda," a series of measures aimed at decreasing the number of uninsured state residents and increasing access to affordable care.

Paramount in the agenda, released on January 16 and reiterated during the Democratic governor’s state of the state address, are four bills introduced in the state legislature, according to a news release. The bills were introduced with the assistance of state Senator Dede Feldman and Representative Danice Picraux.

One of the proposed legislative pieces would create a Health Care Purchasing Authority for existing public employee and retiree health care. Through such a program, Richardson estimates the state can immediately save $2 million in administrative costs. In addition, the governor will examine the potential impact of allowing private employers, individuals and families to buy into the purchasing authority.

Other proposals call for a comprehensive statewide health plan, what the governor describes as “a foundation for policy decisions dealing with access to health care, workforce issues and financing concerns,” and a unified behavioral health plan. Richardson also wants to give the Department of Health oversight of hospitals and nursing facilities.