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The proposal should be withdrawn because: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!