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As we were preparing to embark on an effort to reform our state’s health care system in this year’s legislative session, a newspaper cartoon caught my eye. Titled “The simplified health care program,” it showed two street vendors of the hotdog-stand variety. One of them offered “Fried Stuff” for $1. The other offered a defibrillator, $10 a jolt.While it was a humorous exaggeration, the sad fact is that too many of our citizens aren’t as healthy as they can be and, all too often, drastic and expensive health care is the best they can hope for.The problem affects every New Mexican – even those who have insurance and get basic, preventive care. When a child’s poor eyesight or hearing isn’t diagnosed, that child begins failing in school, limiting his or her future employment options. When parents can’t get a child’s cold quickly dealt with, they miss days at work while their child misses time in class.When people end up in emergency rooms for illnesses that could have been treated earlier and easier, the extra costs become a burden on everyone.We’ve all seen our premiums and co-pays rise in recent years.
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