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The future of health care mandates

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By Merilee Dannemann

The future of health care — or at least how we pay for it — is confusing, to say the least. One question is what happens to state authority under the Obamacare law.
New Mexico contains quite a few mandates — services insurance companies are required to cover.
For example, some years ago a prospective adoptive parent found that state regulations required health insurance for the adopted child, but insurance companies weren’t covering adopted children.
A legislator was asked for help, and a law was enacted to require that coverage. Hence, a mandate.
Current law mandates coverage for mammograms, colorectal screenings and a whole list of other treatments.
Some of them are quite narrowly written — a specific treatment for a specific cancer, for example.
Heartbreaking stories may lie behind some of these provisions — a badly needed treatment denied, a call to a legislator and a new mandate written into law.
Whether mandates add to the cost of insurance can be argued. One side says people should pay for their own routine preventive screenings.
The opposing argument says screenings catch serious health conditions early, saving money because early treatment is so much more cost-effective.


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