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January 15th - National Day of Action to Protect Health Care

Across the nation, communities are coming together to speak out against plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, dismantle Medicaid, and privatize Medicare. These programs are a lifeline for so many New Mexicans. Stand with us to call on congressional leaders to end the reckless attempts to take away people's health care. We will be co-hosting events in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. 

ABQ Rally to Protect Our Care

Sunday, January 15, 2017 from 1PM - 3PM
UNM Hospital
2211 Lomas Blvd NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87106

Invited speaker: Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham

Save the Affordable Care Act! - SF Event

Sunday, January 15, 2017 from 2PM - 4PM
Unitarian Universalist in Santa Fe
107 W Barcelona Rd, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505

Confirmed speaker: Congressman Ben Ray Lujan

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Health advocates applaud Obama Administration for updated rules on stream pollution

Health Action New Mexico is applauding the Obama administration’s action today to finalize the Stream Protection Rule.  Since 2009, the Department of Interior has been working to revise inadequate regulations developed in the 1980’s that govern impacts to waterways from coal mining.

“The Stream Protection Rule is a common sense step to protect our nation’s streams and waterways from coal pollution that can harm the health and livelihood of local communities, farmers, and recreation,” said Barbara Webber, Executive Director of Health Action New Mexico. “This update is a long overdue step to ensure that regulation is keeping up with the best available science and new coal mining technology.”

In particular, this rule strengthens the requirements for testing water quality to ensure coal mines aren’t polluting streams and waterways both while they are operating and after mining has occurred.  These requirements improve on the status quo and help to make sure that active and shut-down coal mines won’t pollute our streams like what occurred in the Gold King Mine Spill that was disastrous for Northwest New Mexico in 2015.

The rule would also require coal mines to have a plan for how to protect fish and wildlife from coal mining, reducing the impacts on habitat and improving the reclamation of mines once development has ended.

Overall, the rule takes commonsense steps to protect the public and wildlife from damaging coal mine pollution, all for very little cost.  Independent analysis has shown that the rule would cost between $.01 and $.60 per ton of coal and will not have a significant impact on jobs.

Health Action New Mexico applauds the Department of Interior for finishing this long overdue update that will protect public health and our nation’s streams and waterways.

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Please donate to Health Action NM on #GivingTuesday

November 29th is Giving Tuesday – a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season.  It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support non-profit organizations like Health Action New Mexico.

Today we invite you to pause and consider supporting Health Action New Mexico on the kickoff of Giving Tuesday as we work to protect essential health programs.

Please donate to Health Action New Mexico to support our work.

A local non-profit like Health Action New Mexico relies on small donors to be successful in advancing our mission. Over the past year, with the help of small donors, we have worked with the Office of Border Health to improve health and health care access in small border communities and colonias; helped sign up thousands of working families for health coverage; reached an agreement with dental care professionals, including dentists, to license dental therapists in New Mexico; and worked on a number of consumer health policy priorities. This year, we’re shifting our focus to reigning in prescription drug prices, advancing a dental care access bill, and maintaining the integrity of Medicare, Medicaid, and the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange.

Our outreach and enrollment funding has been cut by 80 percent, even as the recent national election has made this work more important than ever. With your help, we can continue to work in communities throughout New Mexico not only to connect them with the health care they need, but to ensure their voices are heard as changes at the national level are considered.

With your help we know we can continue our mission of health care for all people in New Mexico. Please share this link via email or on social media with the hashtag  to spread the word. You can also support our GoFundMe campaign here

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Protecting Our Progress on Health Care

Donate today to support our campaign to protect Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act.

Health Action New Mexico has worked for over twenty years to improve equal access to health care in New Mexico. We have worked tirelessly on the ground and with decision makers to ensure that health reform and new health coverage options are being implemented successfully. During the first three years of enrolling people in Medicaid and new NM state marketplace, our bilingual field team of local organizers has connected over 5,500 previously uninsured families in 11 counties with the highest uninsured rates. Unlike four years ago when NM had the highest rate of uninsured, today more people are covered than ever before. 

The recent national election threatens to strip away the progress New Mexico has made on health care. Members of Congress have vowed to repeal health coverage for 22 million peoplescrap essential consumer protections (like ending pre-existing conditions and hiking rates on older adults, women, and the medically vulnerable), dismantle Medicaid so that fewer people are covered and states are on the hook for costs, and privatize Medicare for older adults ending the free preventive services and bringing back the donut hole for prescriptions drugs. This would fundamentally alter the commitment our nation has made to help those in need. 

We need to hold decision makers accountable if they choose to take action on these extreme ideas. Unless we stand up together at the community-level to oppose these harmful plans and offer a positive vision for our future, many will have worse or no access to health care and other basic rights, especially the most vulnerable among us. 

Here is our plan:

1. Mobilize a broad coalition to quickly respond to actions that threaten the rights of New Mexicans, especially on health, social justice, and civil rights issues.
2. Organize events across the state to ensure community input on social justice issues including their right to quality, affordable health care.
3. Stay on top of the latest and most accurate information and analysis about proposed changes and regularly update the public and decision makers.
4. Mobilize statewide canvassing, phone banking, rallying and other forms of civic engagement to educate and activate the public.
5. Continue our work on maximizing enrollment in low income communities throughout the state with our bilingual team of community organizers, lowering prescription drug costs, and expanding access to dental care through the use of dental therapists.

You can make a difference today by making a donation to our organizing efforts. All proceeds will go directly towards our work in the field. This work is often overlooked, but it is one of the few things standing between people and their health care. It means so much to us that you care about this cause as much as we do, and we promise that we will work tirelessly to protect our progress and acheive health care for all.

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Vermont Signs in to Law Dental Therapist Bill

A Victory in Vermont is a Victory for All
Vermont establishes the practice of dental therapists, increases access to dental care for all Vermonters.

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It took nine hundred community members and forty state organizations. It took the stories of the people and the facts that backed up their experience. It took the hard work of activists like Voices for Vermont Children. But it happened! 

We are so pleased to announce that this week, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin signed a law that establishes the practice of dental therapists in Vermont. Vermont’s decision to authorize dental therapists is monumental step forward in this mission to make dental care more accessible. 

As we rally New Mexico residents and we urge our lawmakers to consider dental therapy as a cost-effective, scalable approach to making the dental care system work better for patients, we are thrilled to be able to point to this recent victory in Vermont. 

This innovative, team-based approach enables dental practices to increase the number of people they can serve, is cost-efficient and patient-focused. 

In the past year alone, close to a dozen states and tribes, including New Mexico, have pursued establishing these health care professionals as a way to solve deep oral health disparities and severe unmet dental needs. Dental therapists currently practice in Minnesota and on tribal land in Alaska and Washington. They are authorized to practice in Maine and will soon be practicing in Oregon under a statewide pilot program.  

And this is just the beginning! The momentum is building, and the need in New Mexico is real. Over half of all New Mexicans have advanced dental disease. One-in-three 3rd graders sit in class with untreated dental disease. And 1.3 million people live in counties that are recognized as having insufficient access to dental care. It’s time to work together to find a way to end this epidemic. It’s time to make dental therapists part of the dental care team.

We know that the victory in Vermont is a step in the right direction for our nation, and this victory provides an opportunity to continue to push for increased access to high-quality dental care in New Mexico. Just last year, the NM Dental Hygienists Association Health Action NM and the reached an agreement with the NM Dental Association to advance common ground legislation to make dental therapists part of the New Mexico dental care team. The legislation will be filed during the 2017 legislative session. We hope state leaders will rise to the occasion and make New Mexico the next state to bring high quality dental care to more of our people.

Join Health Action New Mexico as we applaud Vermont’s progress and join us as we make access to dental care a priority in New Mexico.

Word of Mouth

In this season of giving thanks, Health Action NM thanks you

  

As we gather this Thanksgiving season to celebrate family, friends and those we care about and are thankful for in our lives, we at Health Action New Mexico want you to know how important you are to us and our work.

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Together with your support, partnership, consumer
activism and advocacy, this year we have:

  • Defended Medicaid – including informing the public and officials about the importance of keeping the Medicaid budget intact and joining in advocacy to secure Medicaid for the incarcerated population as they leave the prison and jail system.
  • Advocated for oral health access and affordability for the fourth year sponsoring legislation to license dental therapists. In the 2015 l this legislation passed the House for the first time.
  • Participated in a dental therapist task force that brought Health Action NM, the NM Dental Association, NM Dental Hygienists Association, legislators together to work on a solution to NM's oral health crisis.  After an arduous negotiating process, an historic agreement was made with all parties to advance dental therapist legislation in NM. More later.
  • Worked on enrollment in expanded Medicaid and exchange beWellNM. To date our statewide field team working with over 150 local partners has connected to enrollment nearly 5,000 uninsured rural, Hispanic and low income families including the border area. 
  • Organized celebration of the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid and honored 20 health care champions across NM at our 20th Anniversary.
  • Always, always, ensured that consumers and the consumer voice are at the table when decision makers are gathered regarding health care and its access and affordability. 
  • And much, much more.

Stella, Health Action's office pup, wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving and holiday season. 

On December 1st, Health Action NM will celebrate .  We hope you will join us on this national day of giving.

Your voiceactionvision and support are essential to the work of change and health justice. 

So thank you. We send our very best wishes to you and your loved ones for the Thanksgiving holidays. 

Sincerely,
The Whole Health Action NM Team

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#GivingTuesday

 

Click here to make a donation directly to Health Action New Mexico's work.

December 1st is Giving Tuesday – a campaign to create a national day of giving at the start of the annual holiday season.  It celebrates and encourages charitable activities that support non-profit organizations like Health Action New Mexico.

Today we invite you to pause and consider supporting Health Action New Mexico on the kickoff of Giving Tuesday as we work to increase access to oral health care and connect our New Mexico families to affordable to health care.  

Please support Health Action New Mexico.  Our goal is to raise additional funding for consumer outreach to the hardest to reach communities-including families in New Mexico’s border region.  We make sure consumers, their concerns and needs are at the table in campaigns like the consumer-led movement to expand access and affordability of dental care and expanding health coverage to all people in New Mexico.

With your help we know we can get there.  Please share this link via email or on you social media with the hash tag to spread the word about this wonderful day and our important work to increase access to affordable health are.

 

Best wishes during this holiday season,
Health Action New Mexico

 

              

www.HealthActionNM.org 

Health Action

New Mexico’s health insurance co-op is strong, despite national trends

After a key market stabilization payments came in lower than expected, non-profit health insurance co-ops around the nation began to close shop.  Fortunately for New Mexico, our co-op, New Mexico Health Connections (NMHC), remains financially solvent and is considered to be one of the strongest health insurance co-ops in the nation.  In fact, its financial solvency is four times higher than is required by the state’s insurance department.

NMHC’s role is especially important this year, as Blue Cross Blue Shield exits the market.  The co-op is building its network of providers rapidly to ensure that consumers can retain their doctors during this transition.  Nearly 7,750 providers now accept the carrier’s insurance and the number is growing every day.  According to the co-op, providers are coming to them and asking to be contracted so they can continue to see their patients.  This is a positive development for the state and will hopefully lead to savings for consumers.

Due to a filing error, NMHC’s plans will not be featured on beWellnm until November 15th.  The plans can be viewed here in the meantime.  Because of this error, many news outlets incorrectly reported that premiums rose by 26% in New Mexico.  The Office of the Superintendent of Insurance has corrected this error and noted that plans have only risen by 7.5%.

Note: Health Action NM does not endorse any insurance carrier or their products. This should not be interpreted as an endorsement of NMHC and is only intended to inform consumers about the state's co-op in light of recent national trends.

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