Legislature: Bill To Drive Down Health Care Costs And Expand Coverage Headed To House Floor


HB 122 will lower premiums and deductibles and expand coverage to an estimated 23,000 uninsured New Mexicans

New legislation to provide quality, affordable health care to tens of thousands of New Mexicans will be brought to a full floor vote in the House. It passed its final House committee today, Taxation and Revenue, with a 7-2 party-line vote. 

Sponsored by Rep. Deborah Armstrong (D – Albuquerque), House Bill 122 reduces the cost of health insurance for New Mexicans and dramatically expands coverage by: 

  • Establishing a Health Care Affordability Fund to put new revenue towards a quality healthcare plan for all New Mexicans. 
  • Bringing in over $115 million in revenue for the fund by replacing the federal health insurance premium surtax that was recently repealed with a state surtax on the same insurance companies who received the tax break. 

This bill expands health care coverage, particularly for New Mexicans who need it the most and don’t have access now, reducing costs for everyone. 

“This legislation makes affordable health care a reality for tens of thousands of New Mexicans,” said Rep. Debbie Armstrong. “More than 23,000 uninsured New Mexicans will gain access to coverage, and thousands of already insured New Mexicans will see lower premiums and deductibles. We have an incredible opportunity to expand good, affordable care in our state and it’s time we seize it.”

New Mexicans say that affordability is their No. 1 barrier to health care. According to a 2019 United States of Care study, more than one-third of New Mexicans have skipped or refused a recommended medical test because they couldn’t afford it, compromising public health. 

The New Mexico Health Care Affordability Fund would be used to reduce health care premiums and deductibles for New Mexicans who purchase insurance through the state’s health insurance exchange. It would lower prices for those who are already covered and bring costs down to a level that thousands of uninsured New Mexicans can afford. 

Many working New Mexicans earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but insurance costs are still out of reach. HB 122 will help an estimated 23,000 individuals who fall into that coverage gap access affordable insurance.

HB 122 also represents millions of dollars in savings across the state’s health care system. Right now, the cost of providing emergency care to uninsured patients is carried across the system. By providing coverage to more New Mexicans, expensive uncompensated care will be greatly reduced.    

Members of the public can track legislation on the New Mexico Legislature website, access committee meetings and House floor sessions via the Webcasts tab, or participate by Zoom to provide public comment on committee hearings. During the 2021 Legislative Session, the House of Representatives is focused on passing critical legislation while protecting the health and safety of the public, the staff, and the legislators.