In a news release Thursday, Joseph Montes, the group's New Mexico state director, said:
“AFP is extremely disappointed in Gov. Martinez’s decision to create a health insurance exchange in the state of New Mexico. An exchange will increase insurance premiums on consumers and taxes on hardworking families.
“Numerous governors across the country are joining together to send a strong message to Washington to reject these flawed exchanges. Martinez’s message sends the exact wrong signal. New Mexico is agreeing to be the de-facto administrator of the federal government’s rules, regulations and mandates. The state needs to begin to decrease its over-reliance on the federal government. By participating in federal mandates, whether funded or not, New Mexico only deepens this reliance.”
Martinez's spokesman Scott Darnell, responded, "Gov. Martinez has always done what she believes is best for New Mexico, regardless of partisan ideology. In this case, it is best for New Mexico to develop our own state-based exchange that can address the unique needs and concerns of New Mexicans, rather than waiting for the federal government to impose a one-size-fits-all exchange from Washington, D.C."
Work on the state health exchange has been going on since last year. The statement from Norquist's group might be in response to an Associated Press story today about a possible fight in the Legislature about whether the state needs to pass new laws to create the exchange.
About 20 percent of the state’s population lacks health care, and it’s estimated as many as 250,000 New Mexicans may become eligible to buy health insurance through the exchange between 2014 and 2020.
UPDATE 11:45 PM: The original version of this post said Americans for Prosperity was associated with Grover Norquist. His group is Americans for Tax Reform. The text has been corrected. Thanks, Matt.