Alibi V.27 No.47 • Nov 22-28, 2018 

News Commentary

Minutes to Go

ART, progressive people and health insurance

Diane Lodge, a typical BeWellNM customer
Diane Lodge, a typical BeWellNM customer
The Garrity Group

There is just so dang much going on in this city and this state, news-wise, that I thought I would tell you all about it in a series of brief communiques. Besides being timely and informative, these utterances speak to the fact that some Burqueños—and even, perhaps those in the wider world, via the interwebz—are getting their news from Weekly Alibi.

So, orale, step up, mind the gap or strap on your jammy pack—whatever the vernacular of your particular subculture requires—to mark your entrance into the realm of local and regional news updates provided with aplomb and coated with the peculiar yet resilient dust of this town.

ART Turnabout

Every morning when I pry the lid off the big black kettle holding my email, there’s a helluva lot going on—what with bubbles rising here and there—including much news from the official channels at the City of Albuquerque.

Now as you may recall, we’ve been big fans of the Keller administration from the get-go and are quite glad to see that the city has decided not to cite drivers using or crossing the ART bus lane demarcations. That’s a great step forward towards lessening consumer (read: citizens of Burque) anxiety and even anger over the perpetually frozen transportation project.

On the other hand, I did witness near chaos near the corner of Atrisco and Central Avenue this morning, right next to the ART bus stop, interestingly. A young driver in the parking lot that now houses Burlington Coat Factory and Conn’s Home stores—and that’s an upgrade from the long-standing K-Mart that haunted the neighborhood for years—was attempting to turn left, or west onto Central Ave.

Although they were able to somehow snake across four lanes of traffic in two directions while navigating the ART edifice and its separate lane, nearly three accidents happened in time with their crossing. At least one might have been vicious. I winced and somehow made it through—but thought about how a lack of enforcement of traffic laws in general has made this town hell to travel through, ART or no ART. Will even less enforcement of the laws applying to driving through town in a machine result in more civilization or less? I guess we’ll have to find out.

Our Leadership Team

In other news emanating from City Hall—and for those of you who are wondering, yes the word “emanating” was purposely chosen; the mayor’s a metal head after all and that word has certain cred, we believe, in the parlance of that particular subculture.

Ahem. Anyway, this past Friday, the mayor’s office announced the appointment of three professionals whose role in the administration will be to bolster and continue to implement Keller’s progressive agenda.

Brian Osterloh, a longtime city employee, was named to be the permanent head of the department of Technology and Innovation, after having served as the interim director since Keller’s inauguration. In a nod toward the humanist future the mayor’s administration has long proposed, Osterloh told reporters, “In this position, I hope to further the vision of making technology available to all parts of our city to support everyone. … We don’t support servers or cables or laptops or software—we support people.”

Also joining the crew over at City Hall will be new City Budget Officer Olivia Padilla-Jackson. The former director of the New Mexico Board of Finance, Padilla-Jackson was also a member of the very influential New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee. Padilla-Jackson, currently the Board President of Manzano Day school has been quoted as saying, “Albuquerque is a great place to be, and I want to use my experience to revolutionize the way we look at budgets and outcomes in the city.”

Keller’s administration can also be credited with furthering the underlying progressive mission of proving better and more efficient early childhood education.

Toward that end, the city recently announced that Shana Runck has been chosen to oversee Burque’s Early Head Start, Early Pre-K, Pre-K and Preschool programs. Formerly part of the leadership team for Head Start at the Pueblo of Laguna, Runck also worked in community relations at the Nusenda Foundation, as well as holding an adjunct professorship at CNM. Envisioning her tenure in city government, Runck stated, “If my focus on early childhood education has taught me one thing, it’s that every child has the potential to do amazing things. It’s my goal to make sure Albuquerque kids have a solid start to achieve success and thrive.”

Health Insurance Time

Do not fret dear progressive readers and comrades. There is still an Affordable Care act and there is still an insurance exchange designed and implemented to help citizens find the best and most affordable health insurance options for individuals and families.

If the above sounds like leftist propaganda, then get the heck out of here. It’s a well established fact, after all, that having health insurance is a damn healthy thing to carry around with one’s skin and bones. Scientific studies have shown that individuals without health insurance suffer increased risks for chronic disease and early mortality. Serio.

So what are you waiting for compadres? If the answer has to do with access and affordability, then do yourself—and your family—a solid by checking out Be Well New Mexico, our state’s official, state law created health insurance exchange.

The organization has a mission statement that’s heavy on improving the collective health and well-being of all New Mexicans and you can jump on that joyful bandwagon, dear citizen by getting hooked up with affordable medical care through this organization if you live in New Mexico, are not covered by an affordable healthcare plan through your employer or are not covered by Medicare or Medicaid. The nonprofit also has a division directed towards working with small businesses to facilitate better healthcare options for employees.

As now until Dec. 15 marks the yearly open enrollment time provided by insurance companies, regulatory bodies and various commercial and nonprofit exchanges, now is the time get with Be Well New Mexico if you qualify for their services based on the four qualifiers mentioned in the previous paragraph of this article.

The New Mexico Exchange offers a wide array of events meant to make convenient the sometimes complicated process of choosing and implementing health insurance. Here’s a breakdown of the next enrollment events happening in the Duke City, but for a complete listing of enrollment events visit Be Well New Mexico’s enrollment events page.

Wednesday, Nov. 21: Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership Enrollment Event, 310 Indian School Rd. NE from 5 to 7pm

Thursday, Nov. 29: Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership Enrollment Event, 310 Indian School Rd. NE from 5 to 7pm

Tuesday, Dec. 4: Health NM Event, 2529 San Mateo Blvd. NE, Ste. 4 from 3 to 6pm

Wednesday, Dec. 5: Greg Koch GLK Insurance Event, 1700A Southern Blvd. SE, Rio Rancho, 3 to 6pm

Wednesday, Dec. 5: Integrity Insurance Event, 9577 Osuna Rd. NE, Ste. E, 3 to 6pm

Wednesday, Dec. 5: Health NM Event, 2529 San Mateo Blvd. NE, Ste. 4 from 3 to 6pm

Thursday, Dec. 6: Jerry Smith and Associates Event, 4200 Meadowlark Lane, Ste. 1-E, Rio Rancho, 3 to 6pm

Thursday, Dec. 6: Greater Albuquerque Housing Partnership Enrollment Event, 1319 Fourth Street NW, from 5 to 7pm

Saturday, Dec. 8: CNM Workforce Training Center Enrollment Event, 5600 Eagle Rock Ave. NE, 10am to 2pm

Friday, Dec. 14: Catholic Charities Enrollment Event, 2010 Bridge Blvd. SW, 3 to 7pm

A Healthy Narrative

Recently, Weekly Alibi received an official transmission from Be Well New Mexico, illustrating how important affordable healthcare can be to citizens of this state. It goes something like this:

Diane Lodge, who was going through a divorce, moved to New Mexico from Connecticut to be closer to her son Dan and daughter-in-law Amanda.

Because of this, Diane knew she needed to purchase health insurance. She went online to look for insurance companies. She found bewellnm.com’s website, which advises customers to call the enrollment center if they need help. So she did. She had an appointment with an enrollment counselor in two days. “The process was extremely quick,” Diane said.

The counselor asked her questions about her health, such as how frequently she sees a doctor. Diane has high blood pressure, so she knows she has to be established with a doctor and maintain her medications. Not surprisingly, during the divorce proceedings and her travels to England to care for her mother, Diane’s blood pressure went up.

Every November Diane now makes an appointment at the enrollment center to renew coverage face-to-face with a counselor. “They are so good. They know what they are doing. It doesn’t take very long. Why do it yourself?” said Diane.

And that’s the word from a fellow citizen, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making healthcare more affordable and more convenient for New Mexico citizens and, ultimately, a progressive underground community newspaper that wants to see its entire readership live long and prosper. Sabes?

As a final reminder, open enrollment ends on Saturday, Dec. 15.