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Centennial Care Tribal Opt-Out Future Uncertain

Tribal health advocates say the clock is running out for legislation that would prohibit the state from forcing Native American Medicaid enrollees into mandatory managed care.

House Bill 376 aims to provide New Mexico's Medicaid-eligible tribal population the ability to opt-in to the states mandatory Medicaid managed care program, Centennial Care.

Earlier this month the federal government stepped in and told the state that Native Medicaid enrollees could not be made to enroll in the program, however, All Indian Pueblo Council Health Committee chairman Ken Lucero says state legislation will stop future attempts to do the same with similar programs.
"[Mandatory Managed Care] just doesn't work for Indian health service and tribal clinics, so what we really need to do is codify it and say its not legal to do in New Mexico so that future administrations can't do that."

HB 376 was to be heard in the Senate Finance Committee as of yesterday, however Lucero says the Committee Chair has closed hearings. He says he hopes the bill will make it to the Senate Floor, where it's expected to meet wide support, but tomorrow.

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