New Mexico's streak continues; state House passes pre-existing condition protection bill

I've posted so many "Great News!" updates out of New Mexico over the past month that I have a keyboard shortcut to select the NM icon graphic.

Here's the latest out of the Land of Enchantment:

HB 436 passed on the House floor by a vote of 40-24 on Thursday afternoon. The bill would bring New Mexico's state law dealing with pre-existing conditions into line with federal law. 

Rep. Liz Thomson, the bill's sponsor, says health insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions is already protected under the federal Affordable Care Act. She wants New Mexico's state law to do the same.

"Because before the Affordable Care Act came along, insurance companies could discriminate based on gender, they charge women more, and on pre-existing conditions," Thomson said. 

HB436 won't technically change anything for New Mexicans now...but what it would do is protect state residents in the event the ACA is ever repealed or if its pre-existing condition protections are weakened or stripped away (see: the Texas Fold'Em lawsuit).

With just nine days left in the 60-day legislative session, Thomson is optimistic there's still enough time to get her bill up to the Governor's desk. 

"To me, it's pretty much a no-brainer. We're not changing anything per se," she said. "We're just locking in what's in federal law so there's not going to be any increased costs because we're already doing it." 

Now that the bill passed the House it heads over to the Senate for consideration.

Yes, it's a no-brainer...or at least you'd think it would be. Yet, these 24 Republican State Representatives still voted against protecting people with pre-existing conditions from being denied healthcare coverage or being discriminated against:

  • Phelps Anderson (R) (HD-66)
  • Gail Armstrong (R) (HD-49)
  • Alonzo Baldonado (R) (HD-08)
  • Paul C. Bandy (R) (HD-03)
  • Rachel A. Black (R) (HD-51)
  • Cathrynn N. Brown (R) (HD-55)
  • Jack Chatfield (R) (HD-67)
  • Zachary J. Cook (R) (HD-56)
  • Randal S. Crowder (R) (HD-64)
  • Rebecca Dow (R) (HD-38)
  • Candy Spence Ezzell (R) (HD-58)
  • Kelly K. Fajardo (R) (HD-07)
  • David M. Gallegos (R) (HD-61)
  • Jason C. Harper (R) (HD-57)
  • Tim D. Lewis (R) (HD-60)
  • Rod Montoya (R) (HD-01)
  • Greg Nibert (R) (HD-59)
  • Jane E. Powdrell-Culbert (R) (HD-44)
  • William "Bill" R. Rehm (R) (HD-31)
  • Gregg Schmedes (R) (HD-22)
  • Larry R. Scott (R) (HD-62)
  • James R.J. Strickler (R) (HD-02)
  • James G. Townsend (R) (HD-54)
  • Martin R. Zamora (R) (HD-63)

The GOP spent the entire 2018 campaign insisting that, against all evidence to the contrary, "protecting coverage of pre-existing conditions" was vitally important to them. And yet when given a chance to vote on a bill which would do exactly that (without costing the state a dime or even changing anything in practice at this point in time), the entire New Mexico state House GOP delegation refused to do so. Amazing.