SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – There’s fewer than three whole days left in the legislative session. And coming down to the wire, legislators are debating how to handle malpractice insurance requirements.
Malpractice debates and doctors
Legislators have been trying to figure out how to balance insurance requirements for healthcare providers with the need to ensure New Mexicans have timely access to care. Last year, a “secret shopper” analysis revealed key issues within the state’s medical provider network. The analysis showed that for many New Mexicans, trying to schedule a doctor’s appointment can be overly difficult.
Some legislators have pointed to an unfavorable environment for doctors as a key reason why New Mexico seems to be having a tough time ensuring patients can access care. The state’s requirement for malpractice insurance has been a key sticking point in the discussion.
Wednesday, March 15, legislators debated a bipartisan solution presented by the Governor. Among other things, the bill would carve out lower insurance requirements for independent outpatient facilities, when compared to large hospitals.
The idea is that this would let those smaller facilities continue to operate in New Mexico while still having insurance coverage. After working through some of the details, the Senate passed the bill on a 40-to-2 vote. Now, it’s up to the House to keep the bill moving forward.
If you’ve been following the legislative session, you’re probably familiar with some of the legislators. But are you familiar with the lobbyists? And have you thought about how lobbyists influence the process in the Roundhouse?
This year, there are more than 600 registered lobbyists who have been behind the scenes helping lawmakers and influencing votes. Those lobbyists represent an extremely wide range of interests.
This year, there are lobbyists from large corporations, like Exxon Mobile. There are also lobbyists from smaller businesses, like PurLife, a cannabis company.
There are lobbyists from climate action groups, lobbyists from self-driving car companies, and lobbyists from nationwide political advocacy groups. For more on exactly how they influence New Mexico’s politics (and to see a full list of lobbyists), check out this KRQE News 13 story.