I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
Senators criticize Martinez vetoes
New Mexico Senators criticized vetoes made today by Gov. Susana Martinez. Today is the last day for Martinez to act on bills passed by the legislature otherwise they are pocket vetoed.
Sens. Dede Feldman, D-Albuquerque, and George Munoz, D-Gallup, said a veto of a bill to create a health insurance exchange may mean more federal control of the insurance marketplace in New Mexico.
“It’s going to mean federal — and not state — control of health care,” said Munoz in a statement.
Feldman noted that New Mexico has already received $1 million in federal funding to begin planning state exchange.
“But further funding is dependent on the legislature setting up a governance structure, which SB 38 would have done,” Feldman said.
Sen. Tim Keller, D-Albuquerque, criticized Martinez for vetoing transparency and accountability bills.
The two pieces of legislation that received the most attention were bills that would make changes to the State Investment Council, including taking the governor off the council, and creating a tax expenditure budget to track tax deductions, incentives and carve-outs given by the state.
“All of these bills were bipartisan and overwhelmingly supported,” Keller said in a statement. “The legislature is elected and charged by our constitution to make laws. That should mean something.”
This is something that has been going on throughout the nation. Politico reported last week that tea party activists helped block health insurance exchanges in a number of states.
However, Len Nichols, a health care policy expert at George Mason University, told The New Republic that states creating their own health care exchanges is one way to reduce federal power over health care.
Ironically, the only way to make PPACA a “federal takeover” is for states to do nothing. There is much state flexibility in the law, and much more could be sensibly negotiated and amended before 2014, but the strategy of repeal, do nothing and “get the government out of health care” will have exactly the opposite effect in those states that follow this path.
But tea party activists in other states say they should not create health care exchanges because a federal judge ruled the entire health care law unconstitutional.
However, the health care reform law has been upheld in court cases as well and is still in effect. It will almost certainly be appealed to, and heard by, the Supreme Court.
Keller has pushed changes to the State Investment Council since it has been rocked by scandal in recent years. Martinez also vetoed a bill that would, according to the Fiscal Impact Report of the bill by the Legislative Finance Council, “direct the State Investment Council to establish a subcommittee of its members to evaluate economically targeted investments (ETIs) by the council.”
The fourth of Keller’s bills that Martinez vetoed would have created a legislative office of accountability that would allow the LFC, according to Keller’s statement, “to receive and protect confidential information necessary for its important oversight function.”