Rep. Debbie Armstrong, Chair, Health & Human Services Committee, NM House of Representatives

Air Dates: April 2-4, 2022

THIS WEEK: Rep. DEBBIE ARMSTRONG, D- Bernalilloformer chair of the NM House of Representatives Health and Human Services Committee

Topic: Recent Legislation Affecting the Health of New Mexicans

“Healthcare -- we can do all we want about mandating benefits that insurance companies have to cover, or that Medicaid has to cover, but if it is not affordable, if you can’t afford to buy your insurance, then you don’t have access. So, we have to make it affordable in order for it to be meaningful.” --- Rep. Debbie Armstrong

March 31, 2022 -- This week's guest on REPORT FROM SANTA FE is Representative Debbie Armstrong, D- Bernalillo, former chair of the NM House of Representatives Health and Human Services Committee, discussing recent legislation affecting the health of New Mexicans.

In this in-depth interview, Rep. Armstrong discusses what New Mexico legislators have been doing to facilitate a clearer path to health for New Mexicans.

She reveals how the N.M. state legislature affects our individual medical choices and options, by implementing the health affordability fund, the high-risk insurance pool, replacing a federal tax with a New Mexico tax to make medical insurance more affordable, passing laws to allow buying prescription drugs from Canada, and work to minimize the effects of medical debt.

Armstrong describes her efforts to pass the Elizabeth Whitefield End of Life Options Act, a groundbreaking piece of legislation -- now a national model for other states as they craft similar “death with dignity” legislation.

Legislation in support of women's health issues was another area Armstrong worked on this last session, insuring greater access to reproductive health and contraception without cost sharing for all methods of contraception, both over the counter, as well as prescription, for both men and women.

Representation Armstrong has been called the champion for the health of New Mexicans. She has been a long-term healthcare advocate and has served four terms in the House of Representatives in New Mexico. She started as a physical therapist, then got a law degree from UNM, and taught bioethics there. Debbie served as the cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Aging and Long Term Care Services Department. She is also a businesswoman, president of Delta Consulting Group and the Executive Director of the New Mexico High Risk Insurance Pool.