UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE MEETING SCHEDULED FOR JULY 25

UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE MEETING SCHEDULED FOR JULY 25

Doña Ana County’s Health and Human Services Department, along with the Health Care for All Campaign, is hosting a community forum to discuss various models of universal health care, and the work of the Governor’s and Legislative Health Coverage for New Mexicans Committee.

The focus of these efforts is to achieve health care coverage for all people living in New Mexico. The forum will be held July 25, 2007, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Doña Ana Government Center, 845 N. Motel Blvd., in Las Cruces.

In July of 2006, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and the New Mexico Legislature agreed to create the Health Coverage for New Mexicans Committee (HCNMC). The Committee has 23 members and six advisory members. The HCNMC was charged with hiring a national expert to provide fiscal analysis for three New Mexico-based universal health care models.

In December of 2006, the committee hired Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. and agreed on the three models to be studied. Mathematica delivered the final report in late June of 2007. The committee will issue its final report with recommendations in early August. The Legislative Interim Health and Human Services Committee is hosting meetings throughout the summer and fall, and will use the information and recommendations produced by the committee to generate legislation for the 2008 legislative session.

According to a 2003 Paso Del Norte survey, the uninsured rate in Doña Ana County was 24 percent, which is above the state rate. The 2004 report of the Insure New Mexico Commission states that, “According to the current population survey, more than one in five New Mexicans (22.1 percent) lacked any type of health insurance coverage in 2003. New Mexico’s percentage is substantially above the national average of 15.2 percent and ranks us as second in the nation for the rate of uninsured; and first for children without insurance.”

In addition, according to a 2003 report from Families USA: “For most uninsured New Mexicans (81 percent), at least one person in the family works either full-time or part-time. Many (53 percent) have family members who work full-time, all year.”

In January 2005, the New Mexico Health Policy Commission/NMSU reported that statewide, 59 percent of New Mexico employers provide health insurance to their employees. Rates in the southern part of the state were lower, at 51 percent.

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Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call county Public Information Director Jess Williams at (505) 525-5801.