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SANTA FE—Gov. Bill Richardson called for a focus on the “biggest challenges” facing the state during his 2008 State of the State address Tuesday to the joint-session of the Legislature. Richardson listed energy efficiency, domestic violence, ethics reform, domestic partnership and expanding health care coverage to every New Mexican as the heart of his agenda. “In this budget session, my agenda is focused and bold,” Richardson said. “In the last 30-day session, the House and the Senate proposed more than 1,600 bills. This 30-day session my agenda is limited to less than 60.”Richardson spoke at length about the skyrocketing price of health care and health insurance premiums and the fact that 20 percent of New Mexicans are without health insurance coverage. “Doing nothing means more uninsured, more expensive health care, more of the state budget dedicated to health costs and less for everything else,” he said. “It also means that those with insurance will pay more to keep it. Some may say we cannot afford to take on this task in a 30-day session. I ask, how can we afford not to?”The time for universal health care coverage is now, Richardson said, and his plan requires at least 85 percent of premiums be spent directly on care – not on overhead, bureaucracy or profits.
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