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New Mexico bill mimics Obamacare consumer protections

February 7, 2019

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Democratic lawmakers and consumer-protection advocates want New Mexico to adopt provisions of former President Barack Obama’s health care law and protect patients with pre-existing conditions.

Colin Baillio of Health Action New Mexico said Wednesday that consumer protection provisions of the Affordable Care Act are at risk from a lawsuit by Republican state attorneys general and the Trump administration’s push for cheaper, skimpier health plans.

A bill from Rep. Liz Thomson of Albuquerque and allied Democrats would set minimum requirements for preventative care benefits, maternal care, substance abuse treatment, mental health services and more.

Thomson cited her own situation as a survivor of breast cancer and mother of a child with severe autism as an example of people who might be priced out of adequate insurance coverage if provisions of the Affordable Care Act are rolled back.

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Donald Trump said he wants both to lower the cost of health care and prescription drugs and to protect patients with pre-existing conditions.

Thomson remained wary.

“The people of New Mexico need peace of mind knowing that these protections will be in place regardless of what happens on the national level,” she said.

Her legislation, crafted in cooperation with the state Office of the Superintendent of Insurance, has not been scheduled for a hearing.

Baillio said states including Virginia, New York, Colorado and Hawaii already have codified protections for coverage of pre-existing conditions.

The New Mexico Legislature also is considering bills that would ensure low-cost access to contraception and open up Medicaid to paying customers who aren’t eligible for federal subsidies but may struggle with premiums and out-of-pocket health care costs. Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has expressed support for those provisions.

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