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Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Special Session May Look into Health Care

Journal Staff Report
    SANTA FE Gov. Bill Richardson on Tuesday said he might add health care to the agenda of a special legislative session planned for this fall.
    Richardson initially planned to call legislators back to the Capitol this fall for a special session with the sole purpose of reforming the state's tax code. He also signed legislation (HB 168) creating the Blue Ribbon Tax Reform Commission, charged with making recommendations by Sept. 1 on overhauling New Mexico's tax laws.
    But the Democratic governor told the Journal's editorial board on Tuesday that he is considering adding health care issues to the session's agenda.
    Richardson did not indicate which health care topics might be placed on the session's agenda. But the governor told the Journal's editorial board that he is concerned about the "explosive growth" of Medicaid spending.
    Richardson said he was confident that lawmakers could tackle tax reform and health care in the same special session. The governor also said he was encouraged by the Legislature's accomplishments during this year's 60-day regular session, which ended on Saturday.
    "We are capable of some dramatic changes in short periods of time," Richardson said.