The County Commission is taking a wait-and-see attitude on whether it will take a position on universal health insurance.
Mary Feldblum, a representative of the Health Security for New Mexicans Campaign, spoke before the commission this week, hoping to get its support for her group’s proposal for universal health insurance.
Under such a program, all New Mexicans would receive insurance, regardless of income, health or employment status. (Federal retirees and active duty and retired military would still continue with their plans.)
The Health Security Plan would shift the role of private insurance to a supplemental one, as Medicare did when it was set up in the 1960s.
Feldblum said it makes sense to put all categories of people in the same cooperative, bringing costs down. As it stands, medical providers have to deal with hundreds of types of health insurance plans, adding to the costs of health care.
A study has found that $4.6 billion could have been saved by 2004 if all New Mexicans had been under one plan by 1997, according to a Health Security fact sheet.
Fourteen of New Mexico’s 33 counties support the plan, including Mora and Santa Fe. The city of Las Vegas has also signed on.
Gov. Bill Richardson has rejected the Health Security option, saying he prefers a universal health insurance program that would involve private insurance.
County Commission Chairman David Salazar said he wanted to look at comparisons between the Health Security alternative and other proposals.
The commissioners generally agreed to review the issue and make a decision after the Legislature ends its session in mid-March.
The commission has taken a wait-and-see approach before on the Health Security Plan.