For nearly 30 years, Mary Feldblum has led the Health Security for New Mexicans Campaign and each year she has encountered insurance lobby obstacles that have stalled progress. This year we can get this done. There are obstacles, but we have a plan. Read on! And be sure to get to the bottom of the post, where we publish a 40 minute conversation with two inspiring Youth United for Climate Crisis Action leaders. They will give you more hope for our future.
CALL To Action:
HB 203 Health Security Planning & Design Funding At Risk
We lead with something from yesterday’s post, but now we have more complete information and we have until Wednesday to get this done. If you missed yesterday’s post, it outlined the situation and described what Junior Bill Funding is. But if you don’t want to dive into those weeds, this post will provide all the info you need to save HB 203 and set us on a path to achieving universal health care coverage in NM.
It is infuriating that our only recourse is to use the Junior Bill process to fund HB 203, but that is the situation despite the reality that in both chambers HB 203 would easily pass. But the devil is in the process that can impede an important bill from getting to chamber floors for those votes.
We won’t go into the forces in the Roundhouse who oppose HB 203 or their motivations. That will come in the Legislative Report Card we publish after the session. For now, sponsors of HB 203 have mounted a strategy to assemble the funding necessary to conduct the 20 months of planning needed to flesh out all the details of how a Health Security system would function, how it would be funded, who would be covered, what would it cost. With that information in hand, supporters will be able to mount a broad community education campaign in advance of the 2023 legislative session and once and for all, pass this bill.
Today we need you to act to make this happen. Please contact your House Representative and ask that they dedicate $50,000 from their Junior Bill funding to support the planning and design phase outlined in HB 203. Senators have already committed their Junior Bill Funds, so there is no point in contacting them. In your phone call/email, emphasize that:
- HB 203 is supported by strong majorities in both chambers, but the only way it will advance is by assembling $600K in Junior Bill Funds to underwrite the plan and design process.
- If successful in five years, NM will be the only state in the nation with universal healthcare coverage. Your Representative will look back on their $50,000 contribution as perhaps the single best decision they have made in the legislature.
- If your Rep. is willing to commit $50,000 in funding, tell them to reach out to Rep. Armstrong now, as she will provide precise wording to be used that ensures that the commitment of funds will support the planning and design phase, even if HB 203 is killed by a Committee chair. If a legislator simply commits the funds to HB 203 and the bill is killed, then those funds will revert to the General Fund. With Rep. Armstrong’s language the funds would still underwrite the needed planning and design phase. So contacting Rep. Armstrong is important.
As of this writing, we have assembled $470,000 in commitments from Representatives Andrea Romero, Brittney Barreras, Tara Lujan, Javier Martinez, Patricia Roybal Caballero, Roger Montoya, and Debbie Armstrong. You don’t have to contact those Representatives, but you can send them a note of thanks.
To find your House Rep’s contact information, click here.
Let’s do this!!!!!
Abortion Ban Repeal Signed by Governor and Other Successes
Well, primary elections matter. A coalition of organizations challenged the Democrat Senators who voted “No” on the 2019 version of HB7/ SB10 and all but two of them were voted out of office. And today, the Abortion Ban has been repealed and a NM woman is insured the right to make her own reproductive health decisions. This is a milestone!
There are a number of other very good bills that are working their way through the Roundhouse and are likely to land on the Governor’s desk. We will almost certainly legalize recreational cannabis, we will likely pass a 36% cap on predatory lending rates, we are almost assuredly going to pass increased Permanent Funding for early childhood education, and we will make modest progress in reforming our tax and revenue system. None of these bills got through the legislature in 2019. So, elections can matter. A lot.
But as the piece below outlines, there are still constraints that restrict our vision and our capacity to pass other transformational legislation or to spend from our overflowing coffers to address longstanding problems and challenges, problems that have been studied to death already and yet, the priority this session is to study them some more, not to allocate resources to solve the problems.
So, we have more to learn about how this archaic legislative framework functions and how and where we can change it to be more transparent and responsive. The piece below starts to assemble the pieces. Post-session, it will be time to consider them together and plan for the future.
Do You Want to Understand How the Roundhouse Really Works? Recent Retake Posts Offer Clues
Over the past two weeks, Retake has published posts describing how the legislature really functions, the failings in the system, the strings pulled by industry, the behind-closed-doors forces that establish the parameters that define what is possible or reasonable. Together it explains how after four years of successful election campaigning resulting in a far more progressive legislature, we can still find one bill after another stalled, and with the largest surplus in state history and tens of billions in reserves, we continue operating in a very fiscally conservative and socially irresponsible manner, planning and studying problems that have been studied before, and refusing to use our resources to actually address those problems. After the session is over, we will take these and other pieces and compile them into a cogent document that outlines how this system really works and what we need to do to fix it. Disclosure alert: at this point in time, the “what we need to do to fix it” escapes me, while the problems are very, very clear. Read on.
- Friday, Feb. 26. “What is Rethink Our Democracy? And What Will It Do? Plus an Important Legislative Update With a Call to Action!” Aside from providing a preview of Retake Our Democracy’s big plans post session, the post provides a description of the “Junior Bill” process and how it is used. This is one of those legislative practices that advocates need to understand. The piece also describes how sponsors of HB 203, the Health Security Planning & Design bill are using Junior Bill funds to ensure funding for the 20-month design phase. See below for a call to action on that.
- Wednesday, Feb. 24. “Who Runs the Roundhouse? Not Who You Think. Budget Released, With Hundreds of Millions Left On the Table. What Recession? What Transition?” This may be the single most important of all the recent posts on how fiscal conservatives maintain control of the legislature and tightly limit the boundaries of what is deemed possible. While key legislators certainly play a role in this, there is a wizard behind the curtain and it is important to understand who this is and how he works his magic.
- Monday, Feb. 22. “Times Are Desperate, So Democrats Study, Plan, Procrastinate & Adjourn: the Same Approach that Brought Us to the Verge of Civil War”. This post includes a piece, “While In NM We Plan & Study,” a piece focused on how many bills are being passed that call for studies, plans or the formation of task forces, agencies, and commissions, and how with the largest surplus in state history and tens of billions in State reserves, we are not offering nearly enough to address urgent needs that have been studied for years.
- Saturday, Feb. 20. “Why Bills Sometimes Go Sideways or Die, Tools / Actions to Prevent That, Plus 30 Minutes with Speaker Egolf.” At the end of this post is a very short analysis of how good bills can die so easily, either from misleading public comment, a biased and one-sided Financial Impact Report, or the misleading testimony of an “expert witness.” The piece points to the need for a longer session and paid legislators with paid staff because the current process is too rushed, to hectic, and too prone to manipulation. While brief, this is an important part of the puzzle.
- Thursday, Feb 18. “Industry Lobbyists Are Right: The Sky Is Falling & They Are To Blame!” This post begins with a review of Chamber of Commerce lobbying efforts and the bills on their “hit list.” Fully nine of the 16 bills on their list are supported by Retake as Priority or Transformational bills, and we’d likely support the other seven hit list bills as well. But the real reason to revisit this post is the analysis in the piece, “NM Desperately Needs Bold Leaders,” which outlines the dire situation we are in because of the pattern found in other states of gas and oil, extracting every profit possible, passing out billions in executive bonuses, and then declaring bankruptcy, leaving states with billions of dollars in clean up costs.
- Saturday, February 13. “Dark Money & Misleading Info from NM “Environmental” Advocacy Groups is the Feature, but Also News of a GOP Bombshell that Could Tilt Impeachment Vote” This post examined what must be one of the most corrupt campaigns in NM history, a campaign led by the Governor and the utility industry, funded with dark money from that utility industry and out-of-state interests tied to industry, and utilizing the most deceptive mail and advertising campaign imaginable. This is a must read and is something we must not forget.
That’s it for today. Please do take action today to ensure HB 203 moves forward with the funding it needs. Post session, we will convene to consider the forces outlined in the six posts above and how we move forward. But do NOT be discouraged. Each year we grow in power and advance our understanding of how the system works; each year we remove a few more obstacles. There is more to do, yes. But we can’t abandon the project.
Conversation with Castille Aguilar and Arte Romero y Carver, two youth organizers with Youth United for Climate Crisis Action or YUCCA. Well before this session, I’ve been impressed with and inspired by the youth led advocacy of YUCCA and so today we will hear from two of its leaders. If you want to restore a bit of faith in the future of NM, check out these inspiring young voices.
In solidarity and hope,
Paul & Roxanne
Categories: Healthcare & Coverage