For Some in NM, Medicaid Funding Solution Could be Painful

Part of the burden of New Mexico's budget problems could fall to Medicaid patients unless solutions are agreed on in the State Legislature. (Pixabay) March 6. 2017

SANTA FE, N.M. – The state budget deficit has the New Mexico Human Services Department trying to implement new fees for people who rely on Medicaid for their health care.

A sharp reduction in federal matching funds is the primary reason for the shortfall that’s causing anxiety, both for health care providers and patients.

A proposal to add co-pays for doctor visits and prescriptions could raise up to $1.5 million of the $6 billion that are needed.

But Colin Baillio, director of policy and communications for Health Action New Mexico, says putting more financial burden on the backs of the poor is a harmful approach.

“What this really amounts to is, it’s a hidden, regressive tax on the poorest and most vulnerable New Mexicans,” he points out. “These types of fees for Medicaid penalize New Mexico’s families who are doing the best with what they have.”

Similar budget problems last year hit New Mexico health care providers, as their reimbursement rates were cut for seeing Medicaid patients.

Baillio says

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