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HSD Considering Medicaid Copays

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New Mexico allotted $940 million to pay for its share of Medicaid costs this year, but that’s still not enough to keep up with the growing number of people signing up for the program. The state Human Services Department is considering charging copays to people on Medicaid as part of a plan to cut costs.

Highland University student Philip Casady was one of around a dozen people to speak out against HSD’s proposal at a public meeting Friday.

He recently signed up under the Medicaid expansion because he couldn’t afford the copays under his individual insurance plan.

"So now I’m looking at this situation and I’m like, I don’t know if I will be able to get the health care that I need at all," Casady said. "Because I worry that with no income and focusing on my master’s I can’t afford to go see my health care providers."

The copays range between $5-$50 for doctor visits, prescription meds and surgeries. Certain Medicaid recipients, like pregnant women, would be exempt from most of those charges.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the New Mexico Pharmacists Association and a number of other groups are opposed to the copay proposal, saying it will make providing health care more difficult.

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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