Medicaid Expansion Resulting in Job Growth and State Savings

BBER logoA new report finds that the Medicaid Expansion has significantly increased jobs and revenues in New Mexico, generating a surplus that covers the cost of expansion itself. The report by Dr. Lee Reynis, economist at University of New Mexico’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research, updates prior research from 2012 and details the economic and fiscal impact of Medicaid expansion.

Over 200,000 adults in New Mexico gained healthcare coverage through Medicaid when the program was expanded under the Affordable Care Act. The federal government is paying for the entire cost of Medicaid expansion until this year when the contribution gradually steps down to 90 percent by the year 2020, with the state responsible for paying the 10 percent remainder of costs. The federal share totals over $11 billion between 2014 to 2021.

The report finds that the additional economic activity associated with the influx of federal dollars from Medicaid Expansion generates significant revenues from insurance premium taxes, gross receipts taxes, and income taxes as well as savings from programs no longer needed, including the State Coverage Insurance program. Additionally, the number of adults who are uninsured has dropped dramatically reducing uncompensated care costs for providers. From this activity, the State is expected to see a surplus of over $300 million dollars from Medicaid expansion between fiscal years 2014-2021.

Overall, the healthcare sector is leading job growth in New Mexico, adding over 1,500 new jobs in 2014 alone. Income and earnings have also risen for the healthcare workforce, with Medicaid accounting for 25% to 46% of the total increases in personal income in New Mexico. For a state historically underserved with healthcare providers, the Medicaid Expansion is providing funding to help grow our health care workforce and is encouraging investment in hospitals and treatment facilities with an emphasis on quality improvement.

News about the impact of Medicaid expansion comes at a time when New Mexico’s legislature is determining next year’s budget for Medicaid. Revenue forecasts have worsened due to dropping oil prices. Abuko D. Estrada, staff attorney for the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty, says, “Medicaid is one of the best investments our state leaders can make. The program is paying for itself and is a boon for our economy, while providing quality health care coverage for New Mexicans in these tough times.”

Report-UNM BBER-Medicaid Economic and Fiscal Impacts-2016-02-03
Press Release-NMCLP-BBER Medicaid Expansion Report-2016-02-03
Learn more about the University of New Mexico’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research here.

All Pueblo Council of Governors Honors NM Center on Law and Poverty

Kim Posich APCG Recognition3In a moving ceremony at its meeting this past Tuesday, September 29th, the All Pueblo Council of Governors thanked the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty for generating changes in policy and laws for economic and social justice and for having “given voice to the poorest in our society”.

Over the past decade, the Center on Law and Poverty has collaborated with Native Americans in a unique relationship on issues important to New Mexico’s tribes. These include: increasing access to health care for Native American’s at the University of New Mexico Hospital; protecting Native American’s rights to fee-for-service Medicaid; to spread best administrative practices for tribal healthcare systems; improving our state government’s consultation with tribes concerning matters that affect them; ensuring that safety net programs work well for low-income Native Americans; and many others.

The work of the Center with Native American leaders and advocates has yielded significant outcomes. The joint efforts at UNM Hospital alone, for example, with local community groups, resulted in several important outcomes. The Hospital developed comprehensive language services to better serve patients who are not proficient in English. It abandoned its practice of charging uninsured patients more than insured patients and of requiring that uninsured patients pay 50% of expected charges in advance of receiving care. It also curtailed aggressive collections policies that harmed low-income patients.

On behalf of the Council, Governor Val Panteah Sr. of Zuni Pueblo read an homage to the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty’s director, Kim Posich, for his dedication and leadership, and to his staff, for their advocacy and litigation in partnership with Native Americans and in Native American interests. He also called for exploring a formal relationship with the Center and Mr. Posich agreed to join the Governors in considering a more explicit partnership.

Kim Posich APCG Recognition1 Mr. Posich stated that strengthening the relationship between the Center on Law and Poverty and the Pueblos could lead to the formation of a Native American public interest law center, an idea that has been generating excitement in advocacy circles. Most visions of the new law center would have it be similar to the Center on Law and Poverty with the purpose of creating systemic change for low income Native American New Mexicans, perhaps even starting within the Center. However, it would be staffed largely by Native Americans and focus exclusively on issues that cut across Native American interests.

Press Release: NMCLP Honored by APCG-2015-10-01