Governor Bill Richardson wants “universal coverage” passed in the upcoming legislative session. That is no secret. What has been secret up til now has been details of his plan. A broad outline was released this week and unfortunately although not unexpectedly, there is nothing new or innovative there and costs are unknown. According to an article in the Albuquerque Tribune
By 2010, everyone in the state would be required to have health insurance or show they have the means to fund their own care, under a four-phase plan Richardson will pitch to lawmakers in the 2008 legislative session. The governor today also is expected to say he wants the Legislature to mandate health insurance companies to spend 85 percent of premiums on direct services to patients, including disease prevention and management.
Officials were still working Wednesday night on the projected costs of the plan.
Richardson’s plan also would require insurance carriers to offer coverage to anyone who wants it, and would prohibit them from excluding patients with pre-existing conditions.
In other words, everyone would have to have health insurance, just like in Massachusetts where Mitt Romney’s similar mandate plan is failing. Is it any wonder that Richardson is postponing this mandate until 2010 when he’ll safely be out of office? Since New Mexico has twice as many uninsured as Massachusetts, the task of insuring everyone will be even more difficult.
Also, insurance companies will be forced to offer insurance in a costly scheme known as “guaranteed issue.”
In other words, there is no innovation, no outside the box thinking, just bigger government. The only thing to do now is to kill it.