Fred Nathan

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The final presidential debate of 2020 got passing marks because the candidates managed to take turns. But rarely did they roll out the kind of action plans the moderator was looking for. She kept asking: If elected, what will you do about this big problem we are facing? Still, candidates did not venture into specifics. We think that was by design. The strategy was, make debate No. 1 so bad that by the time debate No. 2 comes around, expectations are so low, everyone will just be grateful it’s not incoherent shouting and call it good. But in a time with multiple crises pressing down on us, specific plans can pull people together, provide direction and alleviate anxiety. So that’s what this episode is all about. What do you want to hear candidates talking about? What kinds of plans and policies do you wish they were outlining before the public?

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A nonpartisan statewide think tank is warning the high rate of seniors living in poverty in New Mexico could grow without significant changes. Think New Mexico is supporting legislation to curtail what policy experts there call a crisis in retirement security that is quietly growing throughout the state. KUNM spoke with Executive Director Fred Nathan about reforms he says are necessary to protect the state’s seniors, now and in the future.

Bernalillo County Fights Capital Outlay Dysfunction

May 20, 2016

New Mexico’s unique way of paying for public infrastructure projects has been under fire lately. Critics say lawmakers often divert money as political pork, at the expense of statewide construction projects. 

Now some  government officials are taking steps to address the problem at the local level. 

Capital Outlay Reform Fails

Feb 13, 2016
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Lawmakers sidelined a proposal Friday to change the way New Mexico pays for public works projects.  

A broad coalition of business, labor and good government groups supported the proposal, which would have created a commission to evaluate and prioritize infrastructure projects.

Daniel Kulinki via Flickr / Creative Commons License

New Mexico lawmakers are readying their infrastructure wishlists for this year’s session. But some believe the capital outlay system – that funds our roads, water systems and university buildings - is completely broken. Fred Nathan of Think New Mexico says more transparency and a merit-based system would be the best solution.

Big Pork? Little Pork? Broken System?

Oct 14, 2015
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KUNM Call In Show 10/16 8a: 

  

A new water system for the Cebolleta Land Grant down South. A dam in Cabresto, near Taos. The new interchange at Paseo del Norte and I-25 in Albuquerque. The Spaceport. These are the kind of infrastructure projects that move water and people around the state—and maybe someday, outer space. They cost a lot of money, and some or most of that money comes from the state.

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Gov. Susana Martinez signed a bill today that makes it so people seeking health care can find out what different routine procedures cost at hospitals around the state. Fourteen other states have these websites.

Patients will be able to shop around and find the best deal on medical procedures—and see which hospitals perform them best—when a new public website goes up. Prices of vary drastically from hospital to hospital, according to Think New Mexico’s Fred Nathan, and unveiling the price tags actually drives costs down.

Consumer Advocates Demand Healthcare Transparency

Feb 24, 2015
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Whether they’re shopping for a refrigerator, a laptop or a used car, most people do some comparison shopping before making a big purchase.

But that’s not the way healthcare works in New Mexico, where comparing prices for a hip replacement or asthma treatment is practically impossible. 

Bill David Brooks via CC

A nonpartisan think tank in New Mexico released a report on health care costs this week suggesting that providers should be more transparent about the price of procedures up front.

Fred Nathan is the founder and executive director of Think New Mexico. The group’s report says New Mexicans are spending more out of their pockets for health care than ever before, and most of that extra money is going to administrative costs—not to doctors’ salaries or improved care for patients.