Tuesday News Roundup: New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange Goes Live

Oct 1, 2013

 Navajo Nation Parks Open During Federal ShutdownAssociated Press

Navajo Nation officials say the tribe's parks aren't affected by the federal government shutdown.

Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation Department Manager Martin Begaye announced Tuesday that "all Navajo Nation tribal parks are fully operating and open to the public."

The Navajo tribal parks are open seven days a week with the exception of Christmas, New Year's and Thanksgiving.

The parks include Little Colorado River Navajo Tribal Park, Lake Powell Navajo Tribal Park, Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Four Corners Monument, Bowl Canyon Recreation Area and Window Rock Navajo Tribal Park.

NM Lawmakers Seek Probe Of Records Confidentiality-Associated Press

A New Mexico legislative subcommittee wants an investigation of whether the state improperly put at risk the confidentiality of names of people treated for substance abuse.

Democratic Sen. Howie Morales of Silver City raised the possibility of violation of patient privacy laws during a subcommittee's meeting Monday.

Morales said a digital version of paperwork listing people previously treated for alcohol or drug abuse was sent in an unsecure email to new providers of mental health services.

The director of the state behavioral health services unit said Morales' allegation was news to her. Diana McWilliams also said the state is always careful to obey privacy laws.

The new providers replace ones ousted as a result of an audit that alleged fraud.


New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange Goes Live - Associated Press

Tens of thousands of New Mexicans will find new opportunities to shop for health insurance through an online marketplace that's opening for business.

New Mexico's health insurance exchange begins operating Tuesday and there also will be a toll-free hotline providing assistance.

Small businesses — those with 50 or fewer workers — can sign up for health insurance coverage through the state-run exchange.

Individuals can use the New Mexico exchange to link to a federal government website that will handle their enrollment until the state has its computer system ready to assume that responsibility.

Enrollment also can be done by phone or in person at clinics and other sites across the state

About 80,000 New Mexicans are expected to enroll in insurance plans through the exchange in its first year.

Feds Defend Plan To Drop Gray Wolf Protection - Associated Press

The director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is strongly defending its proposal to drop federal protection for gray wolves across most of the Lower 48 states ahead of a series of public hearings on the plan.

The agency in June called for dropping the wolf from the endangered list everywhere except in parts of Arizona and New Mexico, where a subspecies called the Mexican wolf is struggling for survival.

Agency director Dan Ashe said Monday that the wolf's recovery in the Great Lakes and Northern Rockies is one of the greatest conservation successes ever. He said the species is no longer in danger of dying out.

But some environmentalists and scientists say it's too soon to drop federal protections.

The first public hearing is Monday in Washington, D.C.

Anthony Bourdain Admits Mistake On NM 'Frito Pie' - Associated Press

Food critic Anthony Bourdain says he "got it wrong" when he dished out insults about the "World Famous" Frito pies sold at a well-known Santa Fe store.

Bourdain spokeswoman Karen Reynolds told The Associated Press on Monday that the food critic was incorrect in his description of the chile used by Santa Fe's Five & Dime General Store's snack bar to make the Frito pies.

The sharp-tongued chef and writer had said on a recent episode of CNN's "Parts Unknown" that the store used Hormel Chili and a "day-glow orange cheese-like substance" to make their popular dish. Mike Collins, store manager of the Five & Dime, says the store uses chile grown in New Mexico.

Reynolds says the show will correct the description for future airings.