Bill to study expanded access to affordable health care headed to governor's desk
A bill that would study a program to expand access to affordable health care passed the Senate today. House Bill 400, known as Medicaid Forward, could allow New Mexicans of any income level to buy coverage with Medicaid.
Bill sponsor Senator Leo Jaramillo (D-Los Alamos) called the bill a historic opportunity to continue New Mexico's leadership in healthcare affordability.
"The plan would lift the Medicaid income cap and allow New Mexicans above the current cap to purchase affordable coverage," he said.
He added the bill directs the state's Human Services Department to study and design a plan to allow any New Mexican to access health coverage through Medicaid by paying premiums and co-pays based on income.
Senator Gregg Schmedes (R-Bernalillo) said that he was concerned covering more people would mean that providers would factor cost-benefit analysis into deciding what treatments to give patients.
"At the end of the day, you can't just ask the government to just keep covering everything, everything, everything, everything, right?" he said.
But the bill passed by 26 votes to 15.
Its passage comes just before the federal government ends the extended Medicaid coverage begun during the worst of the pandemic.
The Human Services Department is launching a campaign to alert nearly a million New Mexicans that they must apply to renew their benefits in order to continue receiving Medicaid coverage. The Department will be sending more information in letters in turquoise envelopes.