Advocates to present updated reports to LHHS at today’s committee meeting

August 15, 2012

CONTACT: Sharon Kayne, Communications Director, NM Voices for Children, 505-244-9505 

ALBUQUERQUE—New Mexico can expand Medicaid to low-income adults as required by the Affordable Care Act (ACA or ObamaCare) with no net expense. The state’s Human Services Department (HSD) has estimated that the expansion would require between $320 and $496 million in new General Fund spending for the first seven years. But two reports by the child advocacy organization New Mexico Voices for Children show that the state will recover twice that amount because federal Medicaid funds will be subject to the state’s Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) and other taxes.

“It would be unconscionable for the state to forego covering 150,000 low-income New Mexicans who currently don’t have health insurance because of the erroneous notion that we ‘can’t afford’ it,” said Bill Jordan, Policy Director at NM Voices. “The numbers simply do not bear that out.”

The two reports, The Economic Benefits of Health Care Reform in New Mexico and The Tax Revenue Benefits of Health Care Reform in New Mexico, which were released last summer, were recently updated to reflect new cost estimates by HSD.

“HSD revised their cost estimates downward and so did we—but the end result is the same: Medicaid under the ACA is a great deal for New Mexico’s people and economy,” said Jordan, who will present the revised reports to members of the LHHS committee in their meeting this morning at the Shiprock Chapter House in Shiprock, NM.

The reports show that the federal funding New Mexico will receive for the Medicaid expansion—along with other funds tied to the ACA—will create more new revenue than the state’s share of costs in the first seven years. “To that, you also need to consider the jobs and economic activity that this influx of federal money will create. Even in the long run, there will be no net cost for New Mexico,” said Jordan. “Not only is this a great deal, the Medicaid expansion is key to making the state’s health insurance exchange work well,” he added.

States are required to have an exchange—a marketplace where consumers can shop for health insurance—in place by 2014. Those who need help paying for insurance on the exchange will receive federal subsidies, and those who cannot afford insurance at all will receive Medicaid if they qualify.

Between 2014 and 2016, the federal government will pick up 100 percent of the cost of Medicaid for low-income adults. The state share of the cost starts at 5 percent in 2017 and increases to 10 percent in 2020 and thereafter. While the Medicaid expansion is still a requirement under the ACA, the US Supreme Court ruled in June that states refusing to participate in the expansion could not be penalized by having the federal funding for their current Medicaid programs taken away.

Governor Martinez is among the governors who have not yet announced whether their states will participate in the expansion or not.

The updated reports are available online at: and


New Mexico Voices for Children is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization advocating for policies to improve the health and well-being of New Mexico’s children, families and communities. Our work on health care is funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, First Focus, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Voices for America’s Children, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
2340 Alamo SE, Suite 120, Albuquerque, NM 87106-3523; 505-244-9505 (p);