New Mexico expanded Medicaid eligibility in 2013 following a rigorous statewide advocacy campaign by the Center and our partners with strong support from the public and healthcare community. As a result, enrollment is currently at its highest level ever in the state. More than 1 in 3 New Mexicans (including 370,000 children) now rely on Medicaid for routine preventative care, treatment for illnesses and injuries, and medications. The program also brings in over $4 billion of federal Medicaid funding annually, helping to build our healthcare sector and stimulate our local economies.
Much of the Center’s healthcare advocacy focuses on protecting and improving the Medicaid program. Some of our main priorities include:
Sustaining Medicaid funding– Medicaid has repeatedly been a target for cuts in the face of tight state budgets. The Center’s advocacy was instrumental in protecting the program from funding cuts during the recent recession and preventing the state from shifting costs to participants by imposing fees on them. We continue to be vigilant in monitoring the budget and advocating for full funding of Medicaid.
Removing barriers to enrollment– The Center regularly identifies obstacles that impede access to Medicaid, and uses administrative and legal advocacy to resolve them. We also litigate cases when needed to ensure New Mexicans can obtain necessary healthcare coverage. We have a special focus on increasing access to Medicaid for populations who experience disproportionate barriers to enrollment, including Native American, Hispanic, immigrant and rural communities.
Promoting Medicaid access for individuals recently released from incarceration– In 2015, the Center helped pass a law that ended the state’s prior practice of terminating Medicaid coverage for individuals who are incarcerated. Instead, cases will now be suspended, and can be re-activated prior to the individual’s release. This simple change will make it much easier for people newly released from jail or prison to have immediate access to healthcare services upon re-entering the community, an approach that is proven to reduce recidivism, lower costs, and increase public safety. We are now working with state and county officials to implement this change.
To learn how to apply for Medicaid, please visit our page How to Apply for Public Benefits.