House panel OKs health exchange proposal

Posted at: 02/12/2013 12:29 PM
By: BARRY MASSEY Associated Press

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Democratic lawmakers are pushing ahead with a proposal to establish a state-run health insurance exchange despite objections from the insurance industry and Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.

The House Health, Government and Indian Affairs Committee approved the measure Tuesday on a party-line vote, with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed.

Democratic Rep. Mimi Stewart of Albuquerque said the proposal was the product of negotiations with the Martinez administration over how to implement an exchange operated by the New Mexico Health Insurance Alliance, a nonprofit public corporation established in 1994.

A Human Services Department official told lawmakers the governor couldn't sign the current bill and wanted more negotiations.

One of the main objections is that the exchange's governing board could decide which qualified health plans are offered to New Mexicans.

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