Susana Martinez signed into law today legislation that will create a state health exchange for New Mexico.
A cornerstone of the 2010 federal health care law, exchanges, also known as marketplaces, are meant to help reduce the number of Americans who go without health insurance. In New Mexico, by some estimates, 200,000 of the state’s more than 400,000 uninsured residents eventually could participate in New Mexico’s exchange, which is supposed to begin to enroll eligible New Mexicans beginning in October.
Senate Bill 221, sponsored by Benny Shendo, D-Jemez Pueblo, emerged after weeks of negotiations and back-room dealmaking during the 60-day legislative session that ended earlier this month. At times the negotiations faltered, leaving some state lawmakers to wonder if New Mexico might miss the chance to tailor an exchange to the needs of a state that has many challenges.