ALBUQUERQUE – Governor Susana Martinez announced today that New Mexico will expand access to Medicaid for up to 170,000 eligible New Mexicans. The expansion is mostly designed to assist those adults earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, which is about $15,400 a year for an individual.
“This decision was made with the input of our fellow New Mexicans. Over the past few months, I’ve done a lot of listening. I’ve met with health advocates, hospital leaders, both rural and urban providers, members of the business community, legislators, and many others,” said Governor Martinez. “We have an obligation to provide an adequate level of basic healthcare services for those most in need in our state. However, we also have an obligation to ensure our state’s financial security. In deciding to expand Medicaid, I weighed every possible outcome and impact. Ultimately, this decision comes down to what is best for New Mexicans.”
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provides that the federal government will cover 100 percent of the states’ costs of the expansion for the first three years, gradually decreasing to 90 percent in 2020 and thereafter. Governor Martinez has repeatedly called upon the federal government to guarantee its funding obligations and will work to implement contingency measures in the event that federal funding lapses. The governor’s budget proposal will include language to protect New Mexico’s most vulnerable citizens, removing only the most recent additions from the Medicaid rolls in response to a funding shortfall.
“I want all of us to remember, Medicaid expansion is a federal government promise,” said Governor Martinez. “Unfortunately, we know that out-of-control federal spending can create uncertainty for these kinds of programs. If the federal government breaks its promise and begins to cut their reimbursement rate, we will be forced to scale back this expansion. In the event that we are faced with such a decision, we cannot allow our children who are most in need to go without healthcare services. If the federal reimbursement rate for Medicaid expansion is cut, we must protect our kids and protect our budget by ensuring that the most recent additions to the Medicaid program are the first ones moved off.”
Governor Martinez also spoke today to Health and Human Services Department Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who committed to working with the governor to sign New Mexico’s Centennial Care waiver, requiring more coordinated care for Medicaid patients in New Mexico. With the goal of improving overall care for Medicaid recipients, Centennial Care institutes co-pays for the improper use of emergency rooms, expands the ability of health care specialists to reach rural areas through the use of technology, offers incentives to hospitals to reduce re-hospitalization rates by encouraging follow-up care, and incentivizes patients to make healthy lifestyle choices and utilize the primary care system.
“Full implementation of Centennial Care, coupled with a fully-funded expansion of access to Medicaid, will help provide access to basic healthcare for even more New Mexicans,” the governor concluded.