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Governor Vetoes Home Visiting Bill

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Walt Stoneburner via Flickr (cropped)
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One of the bills that Governor Susana Martinez vetoed last week would have set up a Medicaid-funded home visiting program for new parents. The move has disappointed some doctors and child advocates.

The measure would have had Medicaid cover home-visiting services for moms and dads who need help with parenting strategies and things like breastfeeding or handling outbursts.

Advocates say these programs can reduce child abuse and healthcare costs, and lead to better performance in school.

Dr. Andrew Hsi, a pediatrician at UNM, said there are already some home visiting programs in New Mexico, but they aren't reaching all the kids who would be eligible for a Medicaid-covered program (over 70 percent of kids in New Mexico are covered by Medicaid).

"With poverty being a major factor with the health and well-being of kids, creating a home visiting model to support parents with young children would really be a good use of Medicaid dollars," Hsi said.

Governor Martinez said in her veto message that expanding home visiting programs would be too difficult given the current budget crisis. 

Ed Williams came to KUNM in 2014 by way of Carbondale, Colorado, where he worked as a public radio reporter covering environmental issues. Originally from Austin, Texas, Ed has reported on environmental, social justice, immigration and Native American issues in the U.S. and Latin America for the Austin American-Statesman, Z Magazine, NPR’s Latino USA and others. In his spare time, look for Ed riding his mountain bike in the Sandias or sparring on the jiu-jitsu mat.
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