Covid-19 Exposes Need for Health Security in NM

Another guest post, this time focusing on how vulnerable New Mexicans are to employer-based health care & how the HSA addresses that need. Plus a video of a recent poem from Kristin Flyntz. The imagery is breathtaking: Share.

After a couple announcements, we get right to an excellent piece on the Health Security Act. Following that is a two-minute video of Kristin Flyntz reading her poem, “What We Might Learn from Covid-19.” The poem conveys a strong, haunting message, and with the staggering images projected throughout the video, the message is overwhelmingly powerful. This warrants being shared broadly. Below that is a 3-minute video on the Green Amendment, which has PBS show devoted to it on Wednesday night.

TODAY, Tues., May 5, 6:30 – 8 pm, Zoominar with Dahr Jamail and Greg Rogers. Today’s Zoominar features Dahr Jamail, an internationally known journalist and activist whose book The End of Ice was named one of the 10 best science books of 2019 by Smithsonian. Joining Dahr will be Greg Rogers, an expert on ways gas and oil companies avoid being held accountable by using questionable accounting practices. Dahr just recently published an article, “COULD COVID-19 SPELL THE END OF THE FRACKING INDUSTRY AS WE KNOW IT?” The article focused on NM and the implications of the collapse of oil on our economy. Rogers was cited in that article outlining the options states might have to hold oil companies accountable. It should be an interesting conversation and you can ask questions. You must pre-register to participate. Click here to learn more and to register,

Giving Tuesday

Join us for #GivingTuesdayNow, today, Tues., May 5, 2020, a new day of global giving and unity as an emergency response to support communities affected by COVID-19. In 2018, Retake began encouraging donations to five non-profits who are engaged in either policy or direct service that address the needs of underserved, disenfranchised communities.

We recently adding #Prosperity Works, a campaign that will directly benefit immigrant workers who will not be receiving government relief assistance during this crisis. Your gift will make a direct impact on individuals and families throughout New Mexico. 

We have also added the Navajo-Hopi Covid-19 Relief Fund, offering financial support to the immense relief effort in Navajo and Hopi Nations.

Click here to get to our Tithe Today page and consider making a few donations to these courageous agencies. And thanks to Ona Porter for alerting me to #GivingTuesdayNow and the #Prosperity Works fund for immigrants. Now it’s up to us to give.

Green New Deal On PBS Weds., May 6

A PBS special on the Green Amendment movement will be airing this Wednesday at 6pm MT. The folks from Green Amendment will being holding a live discussion with NM viewers after the premiere, at 7pm! Watch the premiere live here: bit.ly/GreenAmendmentPBS.

Then join the live Zoom discussion to ask your questions and learn about how a Green Amendment could provide a meaningful solution to New Mexico’s most pressing environmental issues. The live open dialogue will immediately follow the premiere, on May 6 at 7:00pm MT, here: https://bit.ly/PostPBSDiscussion

Under Our Current System, There Is No Health Security, COVID-19 Has Made That Clear; It’s Time for Our Own Health Plan in New Mexico

By Dana Schultz Millen, PhD, MPH and Troy Weeldreyer, MPH

The COVID-19 outbreak has highlighted and accelerated the inequities of our nation, particularly in connection with health care delivery. Concerns about rising drug costs, increasing out-of-pocket costs, huge deductibles, and inflated hospital bills (and hospitals suing those who are unable to pay) were already well-recognized problems, now brought into sharp relief by the pandemic. Added to this mix is concern about how many of the newly unemployed will lose their coverage and whether those who still have insurance will be able to afford the bills should they or a family member become ill.

In New Mexico, more than 100 people have died from COVID-19, and more than 3,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus. While it seems as though we are successfully “flattening the curve,” the process has been far from painless, and is likely far from over.

According to the latest figures, there are a staggering 30 million Americans out of work, with that number likely to rise as the virus continues to wreak havoc upon our economy and shutters small and large businesses alike. 105,000 New Mexicans have filed for unemployment since the outbreak began. With the loss of their jobs, the majority of these workers have also lost their health insurance benefits—during a pandemic that threatens both short- and long-term physical and mental well-being.

There is a growing realization that those who have employer coverage simply cannot count on it. Under our current system, there is no health security.

COVID-19 has made it abundantly clear that we must work now to implement a health insurance system that is not tied to employment and that provides coverage for all New Mexicans. A priority area of the New Mexico Public Health Association (NMPHA) is Universal Access to Health Care, in which every person in New Mexico is entitled to quality, comprehensive health care as a human right, regardless of income, geographic location, or immigration status.

That’s Dana, Above, Flexing Her Biceps

As such, the NMPHA supports and endorses the proposed NM Health Security Act, a home-grown solution that will ensure all New Mexicans have comprehensive health care coverage by setting up our own plan in New Mexico. The Health Security Plan would include freedom of choice of providers, even across state lines, and a benefit package that must be as comprehensive as the services offered to state employees, with fair premiums based on income (with caps). With Health Security, if you lose your job or change jobs, your health coverage stays with you.

While public health measures like social distancing have slowly worked to flatten the curve of new cases in New Mexico, there is no set timeline for when we can all “return to normal.” What has become clear, however, is that our health is closely intertwined with that of our neighbors. We are all safer when all New Mexicans have affordable access to comprehensive health care.

This pandemic has underscored the serious shortcomings of the private insurance system, and of tying insurance to employment. These are systemic problems, and the best way to address them is by enacting the Health Security Plan, a systemic solution that guarantees affordable coverage and enables savings to be invested in health infrastructure. The time has come for us to set up our own health plan in New Mexico, which ensures true health security. The NMPHA calls upon the state legislature to prioritize the passage of the NM Health Security Act in the 2021 legislative session.

Dana Schultz Millen, Ph.D. and Troy Weeldreyer, MPH

For more information on the Health Security Act:

https://www.nmhealthsecurity.org   (Health Security for NM Campaign) 
http://www.nmpha.org  (NM Public Health Association)

Five Powerful Minutes – a Message We Need To Hear

Now, Kristin Flyntz reading her poem, “What We Might Learn from COVID-19.” Enjoy.

More on The Green Amendment

In Solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne



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1 reply

  1. Excellent discussion tonight! Well organized, friendly, packed with information, even a few laughs, lots of kindness along with the serious intelligence –– many thanks to both Paul and Roxanne, smart and charming moderators! I think Greg and Dahr were quite energized, being with each other, and that was part of the pleasure for me. The simple and clear layout of how to discuss, with the guided questions and thoughtful inclusion of both guests by Paul and Roxanne: it all worked really well. And the exit at the end was quite gentle and well done.

    Strange how I feel positive, if not exactly optimistic, despite hearing realistic and hard-hitting information, including the importance of doing what we can –– I am motivated to think locally with renewed energy, to continue to try to be good to my family and my local friends, and I will also keep contacting my other friends who are far away. And I will certainly VOTE!
    Many thanks again!

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