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NM Could Be First To Pass Medicaid Buy-In

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New Mexico was one of the first states in the country to expand its Medicaid program a few years ago.

And now it may also be one of the first to create a Medicaid buy-in program to make insurance more accessible for people who are undocumented or have low incomes.

Andy Slavitt is the board chair of United States of Care, a nonprofit focused on making health insurance accessible to everyone. And he said New Mexico is blazing trails in the Medicaid movement.


“Right now there’s about a dozen states that are considering Medicaid buy-in options. They’re just behind New Mexico,” he said. “Part of the reason why we’re here is if we can help New Mexico be successful and have a successful process, then I think it can really take off in other places.”

If the state does make this an option, it would help insure people who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid and too little to afford private insurance. And that includes undocumented locals.


Some who oppose the idea say it would be too complicated to create a whole new program and that it might not actually help that many more people.


Both the House and the Senate passed memorials earlier this year to look into the financial aspects of creating a buy-in program. If the Legislature were to approve a bill, it would also need the next governor’s signature.


Support for KUNM’s Public Health New Mexico project comes from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, the Con Alma Health Foundation, and from KUNM listeners like you.

May joined KUNM's Public Health New Mexico team in early 2018. That same year, she established the New Mexico chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and received a fellowship from the Association of Health Care Journalists. She join Colorado Public Radio in late 2019.
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