House committee approves bill that creates unified authority for health care

Mar. 10—A bill that would blend several divisions from various state agencies into a new health care authority is moving closer to reality.

The House Health and Human Services Committee voted to approve Senate Bill 16 6-3. This bill would allow the state plan to rename Human Services Department to Health Care Authority Department and to add health-related entities to other state agencies.

This new department will be responsible for finding the best health insurance plans that are affordable for public and state employees, as well as their families.

According to data from the Department of Human Services, there are 180,000 members of the public employee benefits plans that receive health insurance offers negotiated by the state.

The legislation — prompted by a call from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham to create a state health authority — would not affect health care plans or costs for private or nonprofit businesses or those who work for them.

Sen. Liz Stefanics of D-Cerrillos was a bill co-sponsor and told committee members that different departments and departments within each department are purchasing their own health care plans during Friday’s hearing.

“Each entity is able to buy [health care]She agreed. “They don’t have to act together. They all respond to the RFP [request for proposals] They can’t buy the same thing together.

Gina DeBlassie was the governor’s health advisor. She stated that the goal of the consolidation was to “really leverage public employees to drive down costs.” [of health care plans] Both for employees and the state.”

DeBlassie indicated that the authority would create one department responsible for all aspects of health care policy, regulation, oversight, and purchasing. According to a National Academy of State Health Policy report 2019, consolidations within a single department are increasing in popularity across the country.

According to the report, states “have the potential to leverage higher prices.” It recommends that a lead agency be chosen to oversee cross-agency planning. This could include enrollment, cost management, and inventory of health care plans.

This report highlighted some examples from across the country, including Connecticut’s creation of a Health Care Cabinet and Colorado’s opening of an Office of Saving People Money in Health Care, which help to lower state employee health care costs.

The Governor’s Office is empowered to develop a plan of transition with the help of state agencies and the Governor’s Office. It also requires that the Developmental Disabilities and Health Improvement Division of the state Department of Health and Health Division of General Services Department be transferred to the restructured agency.

The three Republican lawmakers on the House committee said much remains unclear about the plan — one reason they voted against it Friday.

Stefanics was told by Rep. Stefani Lord (R-Sandia Park), that “this is not a simple transfer.”

Delegate Kathleen Cates (D-Rio Rancho), voted in favor of the bill and acknowledged that it was “a complicated piece of legislation that we are all trying to grasp.”

After passing the Senate, the legislation will now be sent to the House Government, Elections and Indian Affairs Committee. It would then be up for final votes in the House if it is approved.

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