Today, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez announced her decision to expand Medicaid--the federal health-care program for low-income people--for thousands of New Mexicans.
From the Associated Press:
Republican Gov. Susana Martinez says New Mexico will follow provisions of a federal health care law to expand the state's Medicaid program to potentially provide medical services to 170,000 low-income adults.
New Mexico will join at least 15 other states and the District of Columbia in broadening eligibility for the health care program under terms of a health care overhaul championed by President Barack Obama.
Martinez made the announcement Wednesday during a speech in Albuquerque.
About a fourth of New Mexico's population currently receives health care through Medicaid, but the program mostly covers uninsured children in low-income families along with the disabled and some extremely low-income adults.
The expansion in 2014 will make adults eligible with incomes of about $26,000 for a family of three or $15,400 for an individual.
Dr. Veronica García, the executive director of the advocacy group New Mexico Voices for Children, issued the following statement:
“The right decision was made today for New Mexico’s families, children, and economy. The Medicaid expansion will do much more than provide health coverage for some 150,000 low-income adults who currently have no insurance. Some 50,000 New Mexico children who are eligible for Medicaid have been allowed to fall through the cracks and are not enrolled. As low-income parents enroll for Medicaid under new the eligibility criteria beginning in 2014, their children will be enrolled in the state’s New MexiKids program.
“The Medicaid expansion will also be an economic boon to New Mexico. As our research—and the research of other respected organizations—has shown, this influx of federal money will create much-needed jobs and economic activity. Tax payers and the state will also save money because people will be able to get preventive treatment for illnesses instead of getting much more expensive treatment in the emergency room when they can no longer wait.
“In the light of this positive news, we urge New Mexico’s policy-makers to step up their work to put the other provisions of the Affordable Care Act into place—most importantly to create a health insurance exchange that is consumer friendly.”