by Bill Jordan
January 11, 2012
Within weeks of taking office, Governor Susana Martinez called for a “substantial redesign” of New Mexico’s Medicaid program—the health insurance that covers one in four New Mexicans, about two-thirds of whom are children. She has repeatedly said that the program is financially unsustainable, even though a couple of studies conducted by New Mexico Voices for Children have shown that just the opposite is true—that the program is an economic engine for our state and will more than pay for itself through 2020 as federal health care reform continues to come online. (One report is about the economic benefits of the Medicaid expansion under federal health reform and the other is about the tax revenue benefits from that same reform.)
The consultants hired by the state to recommend changes to the program have completed their assessment of the redesign and have made their report to the governor. Any day now she will decide which of the recommendations she’ll implement. No doubt, some administrative changes will be welcomed by everyone. However, most advocates for health care for kids fear the governor may also elect to implement “cost sharing” that would likely result in low-income children losing access to their health care.
Two governors named Scott are proposing changes to their states’ Medicaid program that will be devastating for their kids. Governor Rick Scott is proposing a plan for Florida that could result in 800,000 people, most of them children, losing their health care. In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker (who faces a recall election for implementing other unpopular policy changes) is calling for a plan that could result in 64,000 losing their health care coverage.
Let’s not go where the Scotts have gone! New Mexico can and should do better.
Bill Jordan is NM Voices’ Policy Director.
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