Governor Martinez and the Human Services Department (HSD) are moving forward on a proposal that would create unnecessary obstacles to healthcare by charging higher fees to patients that get Medicaid.
HSD’s proposal requires low-income patients be charged co-pays each time they receive medical care – including for prescriptions, surgeries and other doctor visits. The proposal specifically targets children in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), working disabled individuals, and adults living near poverty, with co-pays that range anywhere from $2 to $8 for each prescription drug to $50 for hospital care. Co-pays for “non-preferred” prescriptions and “non-emergency” use of the emergency room are also proposed for all Medicaid patients regardless of income.
This idea was rejected by HSD’s own panel of stakeholders and experts last summer. It has also received strong criticism from various community organizations, healthcare provider associations, and patients through both written and public comment.
The proposal should be withdrawn because:
- A wide body of research shows that co-pays, even in “nominal” amounts, prevent people from getting needed medical care.
- Costs add up quickly for families and children with multiple health needs – especially for people with disabilities or chronic health conditions.
- The costs often shift to healthcare providers that choose to treat patients when they cannot afford the co-pay.
- Our healthcare system and state budget will see long-term negative effects due to increased administrative costs and increased use of more expensive healthcare services.
Please call and urge your networks to contact Governor Martinez – (505) 476-2200 – and tell her to stop the Medicaid co-pay proposal. We should be making Medicaid better, not creating barriers for our families to get the healthcare they need!
Tomorrow at 9 a.m., New Mexico Human Services Department (HSD) will hold a public hearing to gather comment on its proposal to increase co-pays for Medicaid patients. This proposal faced opposition from HSD’s own stakeholder group when proposed last year and still faces widespread opposition.
Over 20 groups and individuals have signed on with the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty in comments submitted to HSD opposing the proposal, including the New Mexico Medical Society, New Mexico Academy of Family Physicians, New Mexico Pediatric Society, New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness, and Parents Reaching Out among others. These groups assert that a wide body of research has shown that such fees decrease access to necessary medical care, shift costs to providers, and will have negative consequences for our healthcare system and state economy.
The aforementioned comments on the proposal can be found here.
What: Public Comment Hearing
When: Friday, July 14, 2017 at 9 a.m. MST
Where: Rio Grande Conference Room, Toney Anaya Building, 2550 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe, NM 87505
The U.S. Senate will vote very soon – likely next week – on its version of a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. It’s called the Better Care Reconciliation Act but it won’t provide better care at all. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 22 million Americans will lose coverage if the bill becomes law.
- Pay More For Less – The bill will make low- and middle- income New Mexicans spend more for less healthcare coverage. It will increase out of pocket costs, while reducing tax credits that help people buy private insurance.
- New Mexicans Will Lose Healthcare Coverage – Medicaid expansion will be phased out starting in 2021. This will jeopardize healthcare coverage for 260,000 low-income adults in New Mexico.
- Medicaid Funding Will Be Slashed – The rest of the Medicaid budget will be cut by shifting the program to a per capita cap system â€“ giving New Mexico a set amount to spend per person rather than a federal match for actual state costs for Medicaid. If costs grow faster than the state’s set amount, New Mexico will have to make even deeper cuts to Medicaid services and eligibility for children, people with disabilities, and seniors.
- Consumer Protections Will Be Gutted – States will be allowed to opt-out of covering “essential health benefits” (doctors, prescriptions, maternity and newborn care, and mental healthcare).
- Huge Tax Breaks For The Wealthy – The bill will make all of these devastating cuts to healthcare to give tax breaks to the wealthy and big corporations.
What Can You Do? Senators Heinrich and Udall are fighting hard to protect our healthcare. However, you can call 6 key Senators in neighboring states who are considering voting for the bill. Please call them THIS WEEK and tell them to vote NO on the Better Care Reconciliation Act!
Senator Jeff Flake (AZ): (202) 224-4521
Senator John McCain (AZ): (202) 224-2235
Senator Cory Gardner (CO): (202) 224-5941
Senator Dean Heller (NV): (202) 224-6244
Senator Mike Lee (UT): (202) 224-5444
Senator Ted Cruz (TX): (202) 224-5922
ALBUQUERQUE, NM — Public hearings start this week on the Human Services Department’s (HSD) recently released plan for the future of Medicaid in New Mexico – Centennial Care 2.0.
More information about Centennial Care 2.0 can be found on the HSD website here.
The Center on Law and Poverty has released a packet of information detailing alarming changes from the plan that will be harmful and costly to our families and the State that can be found here. Stakeholders are expected to be present to provide public comment at the hearings.
HSD Public Hearings
- June 14th – Albuquerque – 3:30-5pm – CNM Workforce Training Center (5600 Eagle Rock Ave. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87113)
- June 19th – Silver City – 4:00 – 6:00 pm – WNMU – GRC Auditorium (1000 W. College Ave., Silver City, NM 88061)
- June 21st – Farmington – 4:30 – 6:30 pm – Bonnie Dallas Senior Center (109 E. La Plata St., Farmington, NM 87401)
- June 26th – Roswell – 4:30 – 6:30 pm – Roswell Public Library (301 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Roswell, NM 88201)
Tribal Consultation Hearing
- June 23rd – Albuquerque – 9:00am – noon – Indian Pueblo Cultural Center (2401 12th Street NW, Albuquerque, NM 87104)
New Mexico will be forced to make tough choices under the Republican healthcare bill in Congress that slashes federal funding for Medicaid. A new study shows that the bill’s plans to reduce federal Medicaid funding would require the state to come up with an additional $427 million annually to maintain healthcare coverage for its 900,000 residents enrolled in Medicaid. If it can’t or won’t, more than 250,000 New Mexicans could lose their coverage and become uninsured.
The study, released today, was conducted by Dr. Kelly O’Donnell, an economist with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation at UNM and is available here.
The bill drastically lowers the federal funding match for Medicaid expansion adults and permanently caps funding on the entire program, resulting in a loss of $11.4 billion in federal revenues and more than 30,000 jobs by 2026. It’s an understatement to say that this would devastate New Mexico’s healthcare system and economy.
The bill reneges on the federal government’s long-standing commitment to funding Medicaid. And President Trump promised on the campaign trail that he would not cut Medicaid, yet his administration has revived negotiations for the bill after it failed to garner enough votes among House Republicans last month. The latest proposal, in addition to decimating Medicaid funding, would also remove important consumer protections like allowing insurance companies to charge higher rates for people with pre-existing conditions and eliminating coverage of essential services like mental health and maternity care.
Congressman Pearce has not taken a position on the legislation. He should take a look at this study because the consequences for New Mexico will be drastic.
STOP the Attack on New Mexico’s Healthcare System! Ask Congressman Pearce to Vote NO Against the Healthcare Repeal Bill
Friends, Congress is about to make a critical vote on healthcare — This Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives plans to vote on the Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This bill recklessly endangers New Mexico’s healthcare system by making it even more expensive for middle class and working families to afford private healthcare coverage and by dismantling Medicaid, which covers more than 900,000 New Mexicans.
- More than 145,000 New Mexicans will lose their healthcare coverage – including 75,000 in Congressman Pearce’s district alone – mostly due to massive cuts to Medicaid, including rolling back the Medicaid Expansion and cutting federal funding support for Medicaid.
- Thousands of jobs could be lost statewide! Medicaid directly supports over 50,000 jobs in New Mexico while also providing a major payment source for our hospitals, clinics and nursing homes.
- The bill caps Medicaid funding, which will force our state to ration care or make deep cuts to healthcare coverage for New Mexicans who need it the most – children, the elderly, people with disabilities and low-income adults.
- The bill takes healthcare away from the poor while giving tax breaks to the rich, providing $275 billion in tax cuts to the wealthiest households over the next ten years.
Congressman Pearce MUST hear from you TODAY! Please call his D.C. office at (202) 225-2365 and ask him to take a stand to protect our healthcare by voting NO for the healthcare repeal bill. The call will only take a minute.
Your action is needed urgently – the House and Senate just sent a tax package today to Governor Martinez to help avert more deep budget cuts that would further slash funding for our schools, healthcare and public safety agencies. New Mexico is facing school closures and further reduction to classrooms and teachers, the elimination of certain Medicaid services for low-income families and people with disabilities, and a worsening public safety crisis from under-resourcing our courts and other key agencies.
House Bill 202 makes responsible and overdue changes to the tax code, including to level the playing field for small businesses by taxing out of state internet sellers, close up tax loopholes for certain industries, and update the gas tax so the funds can be invested into our roads.
Please call the Governor’s office at 505-476-2200. Ask her to sign HB202, and not to veto any part of it. Let her know that New Mexicans will not accept more budget cuts and that you support this tax package as a fair solution that does not hurt our families. It will only take a minute to leave a message.
Statement by Sireesha Manne, Healthcare Supervising Attorney at the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty
We call upon our elected leaders to strongly oppose the U.S. House’s reckless legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act. It would threaten the healthcare system providing coverage to nearly half of all New Mexicans and, which experts agree, has been one of the few bright spots in the state economy.
New Mexico’s low income and rural communities would be especially hard hit. Our state would be forced to cut Medicaid coverage or ration services for hundreds of thousands of children, people with disabilities, the elderly, and low income adults. Two thirds of our children in New Mexico are enrolled in Medicaid, and the program is the primary payer for nursing homes and community-based long-term services and supports for people with disabilities
Alarmingly, the bill is currently rushing through the House for a vote without public hearings. The lack of transparent, public debate is unacceptable for a bill that would endanger so many lives, exacerbate poverty, and inflict long-lasting damage on our healthcare system. Our families deserve to know the critical facts and their full impact.
The House proposal would make deep cuts to Medicaid by reducing and permanently capping federal funding for the program and for each person enrolled in Medicaid. This includes phasing out enhanced federal funding for the Medicaid Expansion that gained coverage for over 260,000 New Mexicans – reneging on the federal government’s promises to support state expansion of coverage for low-income adults. The legislation unfairly shifts billions of dollars of costs to the states.
The results would damage the entire healthcare system, especially in rural areas that have struggled with practitioner shortages. Already Medicaid payments to healthcare clinics, nursing homes, and safety net hospitals have been cut in the recent years due to state budget shortfalls and are too low to support even the basic costs of services. More practitioners are refusing to see Medicaid patients and thousands of jobs have been lost in the healthcare field. The damage from Medicaid cuts would be very difficult – if not impossible – to reverse if federal support is limited by funding caps.
Healthcare coverage will become unaffordable for low-income families, pricing thousands of New Mexicans out of the health insurance market. The bill will shrink tax credits given to families to help buy health insurance by $1,600 per year on average and much more for many older consumers and lower income families, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. People that cannot keep up with the premiums will also be punished with a 30 percent surcharge to their insurance rates if they miss payments.
New Mexico’s economy will be threatened by this legislation. Medicaid supports over 50,000 jobs from federal funding that tops $4.5 billion each year. The expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act added over 5,000 jobs. Healthcare became a leading sector of job growth in an otherwise stagnant economy.
New Mexico has struggled with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. We would see thousands more jobs lost and a downsizing of the healthcare system with cuts to federal support for Medicaid and health insurance subsidies.
The legislation gives tax cuts to the wealthy, big insurance, and pharmaceutical companies by making deep cuts to Medicaid, reducing funding for Medicare, and getting rid of financial subsidies that are targeted for hard working, low income families. In other words, tax cuts for the rich are being paid for by taking away healthcare coverage from the poor.
We ask our leaders to carefully weigh the consequences of this proposal and listen to the views of the public. A recent poll has found that most voters in the state do not want to repeal the Medicaid Expansion. Nearly three-quarters of New Mexican voters oppose reducing federal funding for Medicaid. Overall, four out of five voters believe Medicaid is important or “very important” to our residents.
The Affordable Care Act led to historic achievements in New Mexico by cutting our uninsured rate in half. Over 95 percent of our children now have healthcare coverage. We cannot afford to go backwards and lose the substantial progress we have made.
We’ve all been working hard to build a great healthcare system for New Mexicans. Along the way, we have seen significant gains for our state for which we are thankful.
- 95% of our children in New Mexico have healthcare coverage now, mostly because of Medicaid.
- Over 250,000 adults gained coverage from the Medicaid Expansion in 2014.
- Medicaid supports over 50,000 jobs in our healthcare sector and keeps clinics, hospitals and caregiving agencies open in our state.
- • Medicaid saves costs for everyone by covering uninsured people and offering preventive and life-saving care.
As we move forward, we cannot afford to lose our gains. We lost over $330 million for healthcare and over 3,000 jobs this year for failing to adequately fund Medicaid. Now with uncertainty about healthcare at the national level, we must work harder than ever to protect and strengthen our healthcare.
Please call our leaders and ask them to fully fund Medicaid. It will only take a few minutes. Let them know why you are thankful for Medicaid.
Governor Susana Martinez – (505) 476-2200
Senator John Arthur Smith, Chair of Legislative Finance Committee – (575) 546-4979
Representative Patty Lundstrom, Member of Legislative Finance Committee – (505) 722-2980
Please call this week – before December 9th. The Legislative Finance Committee and the Executive branch are putting together state budget proposals for next year. It’s important these individuals hear from you this week.