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Medicaid Keeps Growing in NM

Medicaid Keeps Growing in NM

Nearly 44 percent of New Mexico's population is on Medicaid, the joint federal-state health are program for poor people.

New Mexico’s Medicaid rolls continue to grow. In March, 908,750, or 43.6 percent of the population, were on the joint federal-state health care program for low-income people.

That was up from 904,258 state residents who were on Medicaid in February, according to the New Mexico Human Services Department.

The seemingly endless increases to the Medicaid rolls means that the state could reach the projected top enrollment figure of 950,000 much earlier than June of 2018 as state officials have predicted.

The state currently spends $1.2 billion out if its $6.1 billion budget on Medicaid. With federal matching dollars, the state’s total Medicaid budget for next year would be $5.8 billion.

The state’s Medicaid rolls began skyrocketing in 2013 when Gov. Susana Martinez signed onto the Medicaid expansion program under the Affordable Care Act. Since then, 268,691 low-income adults have joined Medicaid.

Initially, the federal government paid 100 percent of the cost of covering those so-called expansion adults. But in 2020, the feds will pick up only 90 percent of the cost, meaning the state will have to find money to bridge that funding gap, reduce services or change eligibility requirements to allow fewer people into the program.

Currently, adults who earn less than $16,643 a year, or 138 percent of the federal poverty level, are eligible for Medicaid.

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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Albuquerque’s definitive alternative newspaper publishing an inquisitive, modern approach to the news and entertainment stories that matter most to New Mexicans. ABQ Free Press’ fresh voice speaks to insightful and involved professionals who care deeply about our community.