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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico legislative auditors are recommending that a single government agency administer health benefits for public school teachers and other public employees.

A Legislative Finance Committee audit called last week for merging the self-funded health insurance operations for state and local government workers, public school teachers, and employees of the state’s public colleges and universities.

Auditors said a consolidated agency would be in a stronger position to negotiate provider rates and control costs because it would represent a large group of enrollees.

Auditors recommended merging the state’s Risk Management Division, the Public School Insurance Authority and health insurance operations in Albuquerque Public Schools.

The school authority opposes creating a health benefits “super agency” and APS says an independent study is needed of the consolidation proposal.

Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration hasn’t decided whether to support the merger proposal.

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