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Some common sense welcome

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By The Staff

Some common sense welcomeThe news that Gov. Richardson and lawmakers announced that a special legislative session on health care will be held this summer after working groups meet in advance to try to reach agreement on key items is very welcome.While we are honestly not sure that a big overhaul of the health-care system is needed – talk to those in the know in the insurance industry and you will get a far different view of things – it is good news that before a session is held some discussions will happen.The AP said that Thursday’s announcement followed a closed-door session between the governor and a handful of Senate leaders that both sides termed productive.Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, D-Belen, said reforming the health-care system is a long-term endeavor, but “we need to get started.”No date has been set for the special session. Lawmakers said it could be in late summer.Richardson blasted the Senate as the big stumbling block when he tried to push a universal health coverage plan through the regular legislative session that ended two weeks ago.Senators balked at making sweeping reforms during the short 30-day session, especially in light of the state’s uncertain revenue picture.And since the House passed some legislation, the Senate must be on board for at least some changes if the governor is to get any bills passed during a special session.But there is a lot of work to do. Even the House, which passed some bills, was troubled this year by key components of Richardson’s health-coverage plan: mandates that individuals be covered by insurance and that some employers contribute to a fund to make insurance more affordable.And those provisions were removed before the House passed the governor’s bill. But they’re likely to be revisited as working groups of senators and administration officials.Count on it.But if this has to happen, it is not only good to talk, it is also good to wait. Waiting until late summer for the special session means that an updated set of revenue projections for the next few years would be available.And that will help set the stage and some parameters for this new program.