Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sweeping Good Government Reform Bill Awaits Governor's Signature.

I recently had a huge medical benefit claim denied by my insurance company. Now I'm stuck with a quarter million, yep $250-Thousand (or more) bill.

As you may understand, I have a vested interest in Health Care Reform in this country.

A public option is the only way to guarantee health care for all Americans. Any legislation without the choice of a public option is only insurance reform and not the health care reform we need NOW.

For true health care reform to be implemented in the state, and across the country, political contributions must be limited (and big money taken out of politics). Fortunately, the Governor has signed legislation to do just that.

We must also have more ethics reform, including open meetings, accountability, and transparent government.

Both the NM House and Senate passed Senate Bill 531. Now it needs the governor's signature.

This bill is critical to helping our government function more effectively, with more accountability and less bureaucracy.

Freshman Senator Tim Keller (D-ABQ) said:
Passage of this measure will enable a more open government and improve accountability for our State’s biggest programs including education, Medicaid, health care and retirement plans. Without this bill major reform will continue to stall because of intra-governmental jurisdiction issues.

Senator Keller tells the Word:
This bill was very under the radar this session but got a lot of momentum at the end. It has significant repercussions for health care and education reform, ethics and pay to play.
Senate Bill 531 establishes a “cross confidentiality” agreement between branches of government so that information can be shared within the bounds of state government and still remain confidential with respect to individual privacy. The bill also establishes a framework for program evaluation that alleviates the current subpoena requirement. The current subpoena process is long, costly, arduous and often not warranted for many inquiries. The bill would save the executive, legislative and the tax payer’s time and money.

Speaking at the opening of the UNM Southeast Heights Albuquerque Health Clinic, Senator Keller reminded the crowd that New Mexico is one of the few states that does not have an intra-governmental cross confidentiality statute and that requires subpoenas for branches to share information with one another.
For true health care reform – or any major government accountability, regardless of which solutions we choose, we need transparency into the current system for real program evaluation. To make sound decisions, policy makers need to know the fundamentals like cost, benefit, elasticity, supply, demand and return on investment. We have to be able to analytically understand effectiveness before we can address the root causes behind our biggest challenges.
I also recommend, if you support healthcare reform for your friends, family and yourself, that you sign Democracy for America's petition to get this ball rolling. Dr. Howard Dean has rejoined the group. Details and petition are available for your review here.

President Barack Obama campaigned on a health care plan that included a public option, but for-profit insurance companies and HMO's are already working hard to strip it from any upcoming health care bill. They don't want Americans to have a choice and they'll stop at nothing to kill real reform. We must appeal now to congress. We need to draw a line in the sand. Sign the petition today.

For a personal appeal from Dean watch this new video:

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