Former Independent and Green Party congressional candidate Carol Miller tested positive for COVID-19 more than 21 days ago. Miller ran for Congress as an Independent in 2008 and for the Green Party in a special election in 1997. Miller is 73, which puts her in a high-risk category. But she is asymptomatic. She hasn’t had any of the symptoms – no fever, cough or shortness of breath – of this type of coronavirus.
Senator Martin Heinrich is signing onto legislation that would keep the so-called “Cadillac tax” in the garage before it is even implemented. Heinrich will cosponsor legislation by U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., to repeal the tax that is part of the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare overhaul law that went into effect in 2013. The tax is one portion of the law that has not yet went into effect and isn’t scheduled to do so until 2018. Heller’s effort is a companion piece of legislation to a bill in the House by U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., which seeks to do the same thing. “Doing away with this onerous tax on employees’ health coverage before it goes into effect will protect important benefits for workers and ensure businesses and families get a fair deal,” Heinrich told New Mexico Political Report in a statement Thursday morning shortly before the legislation was unveiled. “I’m proud to join Senator Heller and Congressman Courtney in leading this bipartisan effort to ensure millions of middle-class families who rely on employer-based health care aren’t unfairly penalized because of this tax.”
Another study has found that the amount of uninsured New Mexicans fell since the passage of health care overhaul legislation. This time, the U.S. Census Bureau released data on Wednesday that showed the uninsured rate in New Mexico fell from 18.6 percent in 2013 to 14.5 percent in 2014, one of the largest drops in the nation. Nationwide numbers showed a drop from 13.3 percent to 10.4 percent. The numbers are in line with other recent uninsured rate numbers that showed improvements both in New Mexico and nationwide. A Gallup poll from earlier this year showed New Mexico’s uninsured rate at 13.1 percent, from 20.2 percent in 2013.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico will not be offering individual plans on the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange in 2016 after the Superintendent of Insurance rejected a large requested pay hike. Albuquerque Business First reported the news and it comes just weeks after the company requested approval for a premium rate increase. The insurance company had requested a 51.6 percent premium rate hike, but the Office of the Superintendent of Insurance rejected the proposal earlier this month. The move will impact 35,000 individuals who bought insurance from the company both directly and through the exchange. Those who have BCBSNM insurance plans from other plans will not be impacted.
A survey found that the uninsured rate among Hispanics in New Mexico plummeted since the implementation of health care reform, also known as the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. The results “provide strong evidence that the ACA is working among New Mexico Hispanics,” the pollster, Latino Decisions, said in announcing the results. The poll found that only 8 percent of Hispanic adults lack health insurance, compared to 23 percent in 2013, before the health care reform law went into effect. However, 19 percent of Hispanic adults did not have health insurance for at least one month last year. The poll was conducted for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy (RWJF-CHP) and the NMCARES-Health Disparities Center.
While New Mexico still is not among the leaders in lowest uninsured rate, the percentage of uninsured since the passage of health care reform legislation has dropped more than 7 percentage points. The numbers from Gallup come from a large nationwide poll that showed uninsured rates have fallen massively in recent years, to the point where five states now have rates under 5 percent. In New Mexico, 13.1 percent are still uninsured. This is compared to 20.2 percent in 2013, before the health care overhaul, known as the Affordable Care Act, became law. In other words, the uninsured rate has dropped 7.1 percentage points.
In one of the most highly-anticipated U.S. Supreme Court decisions of the year, the country’s high court ruled that the law allowed for subsidies in states with federal exchanges as well as those with state exchanges. New Mexico Political Report asked for responses from members of New Mexico’s congressional delegation to the high profile decision that the U.S. Supreme Court released on Thursday morning. President Barack Obama spoke in the White House Rose Garden, and said if the court had ruled against the Affordable Care Act, “America would have gone backwards.” “Today, after more than 50 votes in Congress to repeal or weaken this law; after a presidential election based in part on preserving or repealing this law; after multiple challenges to this law before the Supreme Court — the Affordable Care Act is here to stay,” Obama said. The high court agreed with the Barack Obama administration that subsidies applied to states that used the federal health exchange as well as those who created their own state-based health exchanges.