Letters to the Editor: Medicaid Works for New Mexico

by Bill Jordan, Albuquerque Journal
Jan. 3, 2018

It was discouraging to see a bunch of anti-Medicaid letters parroting Governor Martinez’s inaccuracies about the cost of the program.
The truth is, Medicaid is saving the state money while providing care to our children, seniors, the disabled, and neighbors in need—thanks in large part to the Affordable Care Act.

In 2013, the state was paying $905 million to cover 483,000 New Mexicans. In 2018, the state will pay $955 million to cover almost 900,000 people. Simple math shows us that the number of New Mexicans now receiving their health insurance under Medicaid has increased by almost 100 percent, while the cost to provide all that coverage has gone up just 5.5 percent. That sounds to me like something to celebrate, not complain about.

What’s more, even though New Mexico’s costs have gone up only slightly, the state is now receiving billions of dollars more in federal funds. All of that money is going to our doctors, their staffs, pharmacists, clinics, and hospitals. That’s good for our economy. In fact, for some time now health care has been the only sector consistently adding jobs in New Mexico.

Looking at it in another way―since we’re covering almost 900,000 people at a cost of just over $900 million means we’re providing health care coverage for about $1,000 per person per year. As anyone paying for insurance knows, that’s a bargain.

Medicaid is also a lifesaver. New Mexicans on Medicaid simply cannot afford health care any other way. And my own health care costs are lower when more people are insured. As a taxpayer, I’m thrilled that the state is taking full advantage of the Medicaid program to provide coverage for New Mexicans of limited means. Our elected leaders should fully fund Medicaid and maximize the program’s benefits for the good of our economy and the health of our people.

Copyright 2018, Albuquerque Journal