The Truth is Powerful

Editorial: Ranking No. 1 in Medicaid shows how sick NM economy is

New Mexico has attained top status in a statistic with a huge fiscal impact that speaks volumes about the literal health and economic welfare of the state.

We are now No. 1 nationally in reliance on Medicaid for health care, with 43% of the state’s population enrolled in the program for low-income people – and which now pays for a shocking three-quarters of the births across the state.

The state’s Medicaid enrollment – which exceeds 860,000 – was already near the top and grew by about 1.5% a month during the COVID-19 pandemic and the state’s tougher-than-most restrictions imposed in response to it.

Nicole Comeaux, director of the state Medicaid Assistance Division, told lawmakers last month the increased enrollment meant more COVID-inspired federal matching money, which was bumped from $3.65 for every state general fund dollar spent on the program to $4.76.

That extra funding is set to expire in April and, unless extended, will leave the state with a $170 million shortfall for the coming fiscal year.

Meanwhile, a state House committee this week approved a budget with $1.134 billion for Medicaid for next fiscal year.

Providing more people with health care coverage is a good thing. Gov. Susana Martinez expanded the program, […]

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