New Mexico House panel OKs health exchange plan
|By BARRY MASSEY, Associated Press|
The exchange is envisioned as an online shopping center for people and small businesses to buy health coverage from private insurance companies. Those plans must have a package of health benefits tailored to
Under federal law, the exchange must be ready for enrollment in October and be fully operating by next January.
Stewart and other Democrats contend
The Martinez administration initially had maintained it could set up an exchange without legislation by using the alliance, but it has been negotiating with lawmakers to avoid a possible court fight over the issue.
However, differences remain between Democrats and the governor _ particularly over the powers of the exchange's proposed governing board.
"We would like to move to a more market-driven model,"
Insurance company representatives echoed that objection, as did several
The legislation would allow the exchange's governing board to decide whether a health plan, if it met federal and state standards, would be offered through the exchange.
Kennicott and insurance industry officials said any qualified health plan should be available through the exchange's marketplace. The state insurance regulator will determine whether health plans provide necessary benefits and meet other requirements.
Kennicott said the administration hoped to continue negotiations with lawmakers.
The legislation will revamp the governing board of the alliance, which Stewart said was currently too heavily tilted in favor of the insurance industry.
There would be a 13-member governing board under the proposal approved by the committee. Nine of those would represent small employers and their employees. There would be one consumer representative and one board member representing the insurance industry. The cabinet secretary of the
The governor would appoint seven of the board members, including the department secretary, and legislators would name five members.
"The governor gave a bunch. We gave a bunch, and came up with a compromise," said Stewart.
The legislation faces a long journey in the Democratic-controlled Legislature. It must clear another House committee before reaching the 70-member House for a vote. It also would need to pass the
Nearly 200,000 New Mexicans may be able to buy health insurance through the exchange between 2014 and 2020. Some uninsured won't need to use the exchange because they will become eligible for health care through
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