December 22, 2016

Guv, OSI say they didn’t send letter calling for ACA replacement

Both Gov. Susana Martinez and the Office of the Superintendent of Insurance say they did not send a letter to Republicans in Congress and others about the Affordable Care Act.

Congressional Republicans have been talking about repealing ACA, also known as Obamacare, in the coming year under President-elect Donald Trump. They’re debating whether to pass a repeal along with an immediate replacement or to repeal then pass a replacement plan later.

PoliticoPro, a subscription service, first reported that Martinez and Superintendent of Insurance John Franchini sent a letter urging Congressional Republicans not to repeal the law without a replacement set up.

A later report, again from PoliticoPro, said Martinez’s office denied sending the letter. Martinez said the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange, known as BeWellNM, wrote the letter. Martinez has said she opposes the ACA.

Martinez was one of the Republican governors who opted to expand Medicaid in their home states.

The NM Health Insurance Exchange said it was a draft letter and neither the governor nor insurance superintendent saw it, let alone approved of it.

“The New Mexico Health Insurance exchange regrets this draft letter was misconstrued as any kind ofofficial or unofficial statement on behalf of the Governor’s office,” interim CEO Linda Wedeen  said in a statement. “The New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange is not a state agency and is governed by an independent board.”

Wedeen also said they do not plan on sending a letter to Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., because only governors and commissioners were invited to send a letter.

A spokeswoman for OSI confirmed to NM Political Report that her office did not send the letter. Instead, she said her office would likely send a letter currently in draft stages about ACA in January.

Update: Added information from the Linda Wedeen.