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Morning Word: GOP Plan Slashes NM Treatment Funds

June 21, 2017, 7:30 am

Republican health care plan cuts addiction treatment for NM
The newly unveiled healthcare plan crafted by Senate Republicans to replace Obamacare would cut more than $100 million from behavioral health services in New Mexico, such as addiction treatment. The Republican plan phases out the expansion of Medicaid that paid for treatment. The state says the expansion has played an outsized role in helping New Mexico deal with the opioid crisis. Republicans say Obamacare has driven health insurance costs to unmanageable levels.

Truck stop meeting interrupted
Planners for the proposed Pilot Flying J truck stop at I-25 and Highway 14 booked an air-conditioned tent on a motel patio that could hold 75 people and a few tables for displays. About 200 showed up. Many were in vocal opposition to providing a conditional use permit that would let the truck stop be put just across from the western entrance to Rancho Viejo. So vocal, in fact, that after demanding the meeting continue after the planner tried to cancel it and book a larger venue, they walked out after someone outside said 65 people had stuck around to try to hear the meeting from outside the tent. The debacle will delay the project's application by at least a month.

Dust storm claims 6 lives
The massive dust storm that closed a 60-mile stretch of I-10 in Southern New Mexico and Arizona earlier this week caused crashes that killed six people, including a Phoenix couple and their infant daughter. What started as a dusty cloud for many drivers turned into a blinding sandstorm with visibility of just a few feet.

Skandera's exit interview
Why, it's with the American Enterprise Institute, of course. After leading New Mexico schools for seven years, Skandera sat down for a chat with the conservative think tank to talk about teaching adults to teach kids and designing education systems for kids, not adults. And also about how maybe there's too much testing going on.

Herrera charged in shooting rampage
Prosecutors charged Damian Herrera with a single count of murder yesterday for killing his mother during a day-long killing spree last week. Herrera killed five people, police say, on Thursday as he drove between Abiquiu, Ojo Caliente and Tres Piedras. Charges for the four other killings will follow.

Toulouse Oliver to run for full term
Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver says she plans to run for a full term as New Mexico's top elections official in 2018. She took office after winning a special election to replace Dianna Duran, who was convicted of misusing her own election funds to fuel a gambling habit. Toulouse Oliver hopes to reform the state's campaign finance system.

Behavioral help
Miguel Chavez was still a county commissioner when his son, who is living with bipolar disorder, came to his door last summer after getting out of jail. There was an argument, then a struggle as Chavez pulled a knife away from his son. It was a heartbreaking episode that Chavez says underscores the need to raise gross receipts taxes to pay for more behavioral health care in the county.

It's summer
So why not make it a billion degrees out, China? Sad. The summer solstice began last night at 10:24 and we are off to the races—which apparently end at the coronal layer of the sun. It's gonna be hot today, people; 90s up here and something like 102 in Albuquerque. There's an end in sight this weekend.

Thanks for reading! While out to dinner last night, the Word asked the server what tamarind juice tastes like. She said, "Like tamarind."

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