Legislature: Universal Health Care Planning Board Passes House Committee


Legislation taking the first step toward providing universal health care specific to New Mexico passed the House Health and Human Services Committee today. 

Sponsored by Rep. Deborah Armstrong (D-Albuquerque), Rep. Tara Lujan (D-Santa Fe) and Rep. Patricia Roybal Caballero (D – Albuquerque), House Bill 203 creates a Health Security Planning and Design Board, tasked with supplying recommendations for the design of a health security program that would provide guaranteed health care coverage for all New Mexicans. The plan will address:

  • Provider payment systems
  • Global budgets for health care facilities
  • Bulk purchases of drugs, medical supplies and equipment
  • Information technology system requirements
  • Waiver and agreement options for federal programs, including Medicaid and Medicare 
  • Financing options
  • Supplemental health coverage
  • Any other components deemed appropriate by the Board. 

“We have a lot of questions about how to best reshape our healthcare system and how we can save money by having one single system instead of multiple systems and carriers. HB 203 will provide the answers we need by recruiting experts and technical specialists to do big-picture thinking on how we would potentially finance and organize universal coverage in New Mexico,” said Rep. Armstrong. “Universal models have great potential to reduce costs, and of course, provide high-quality care to every New Mexican. Ignoring that would be a mistake.”

“All New Mexicans deserve access to quality health care for themselves and their families, no matter their existing conditions, income level, or employment status,” said Rep. Lujan. “My mother, Elizabeth “Dolly” Lujan, and other nurses from her labor union NUHHCE Local 1199, fought for universal healthcare decades ago, so it is my honor to co-sponsor this legislation to help continue her legacy.” 

“This is the first step in the journey to deliver the fundamental human right of health care to our residents, providing the research and framework we need to create a system customized to our state’s unique needs,” said Rep. Roybal Caballero. “This bill does not enact the Health Security Act, but rather, it initiates proactive planning to see if and how universal health care could work for New Mexico in the future.” 

The Health Security Planning and Design Board created by HB 203 will provide its report and recommendations to the Legislative Finance Committee, Legislative Health and Human Services Committee, and Governor’s office by September 1, 2023.

House Bill 203 passed the House Health and Human Services Committee with a 8-2 vote and will be heard next in the House Appropriations and Finance Committee.

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.