Health Security Act Passes Key Committee

‘Study Bill’ to Gather Data on Creating Health Co-op; Includes ‘Delayed Repeal,’ Guarantees Legislature Must Take Further Action to Implement Co-op


The House Health and Human Services Committee on Friday passed by a vote of 5-2 Rep. Debbie Armstrong’s bill, HB 295, the Health Security Act, a study bill to gather information on the feasibility of creating a New Mexico-run health insurance cooperative.

“The Affordable Care Act has helped many New Mexicans get the care they need,” Armstrong said. “Still, 190,000 New Mexicans don’t have health coverage. Many of them have to choose between paying their heating bill and going to the doctor. The Health Security Act will allow us to take an in-depth look at how we might create a health insurance cooperative in New Mexico to ensure everyone has the coverage and they care they need.”

HB 295 provides for in-depth study and planning to create and implement, over several years, an insurance cooperative in New Mexico so that the state could provide health coverage for all eligible residents. The bill also includes a “delayed repeal” clause. The bill will automatically repeal in 2021 after the completion of the initial study. A cooperative could not be started without further action by the Legislature.

“This is a study bill,” Armstrong said. “We need information and input to ensure that this co-op idea can work in New Mexico. Based on the Health Security Act’s findings, the Legislature can decide whether to move forward with creating a health insurance cooperative.”

Dozens of people from around New Mexico provided testimony in support of HB295.

“New Mexicans need access to affordable, quality healthcare,” Armstrong said. “I am an unapologetic believer that healthcare is a right.”

HB 295 will now move to the House State Government, Elections & Indian Affairs Committee for consideration.

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About Rep. Armstrong: Debbie, Chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee, is a long-time health care advocate serving her second term in the New Mexico House of Representatives. Having started her career as a physical therapist, she has worked extensively as a health care administrator, working 10 years with Presbyterian Medical Services in Santa Fe. Prior to serving as Secretary of New Mexico’s Aging and Long-Terms Services Department, she oversaw the department’s Consumer and Elder Rights Division. Debbie is the mother of three adult children. She lives in Albuquerque’s North Valley.  Follow her on Twitter @NMRepArmstrong and on Facebook, and sign up for email and text updates.

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