Study finds health care overhaul would burden New Mexico

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The Associated Press

9:04 p.m. MT April 28, 2017

SANTA FE — An analysis commissioned by an Albuquerque-based advocacy group on poverty issues has found that Republican plans to overhaul Medicaid health care would likely shift billions of dollars in costs to New Mexico’s state government by 2026.

The study released Thursday by the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty concluded that New Mexico state government would be compelled to pay an additional $3 billion from 2020 to 2026 to maintain current levels of Medicaid coverage and services.

New Mexico is one of the 31 states that expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act to adults with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

The state’s uninsured rate has been cut in half since 2013 with the expansion.

Under the Republican plan, costs to the state would increase substantially for new expansion patients and those who drop out and return, starting in 2019.

$427M in added costs

That would likely cost the state an average of $427 million a year between 2020 and 2026, according to the analysis by University of New Mexico researcher Kelly O’Donnell.

Rolling back the expansion could syphon even more federal dollars away from the state.

The report found caps on per-capita costs also would burden state finances.

Congressional Republicans hope to vote soon on a revised health care overhaul bill that would let states escape a requirement under former President Barack Obama‘s signature health care law that insurers charge healthy and seriously ill customers the same rates.

Overall, the legislation would cut the Medicaid program for the poor, eliminate fines for people who do not buy insurance and provide generally skimpier subsidies.

Republicans generally embraced the revisions as a way to lower people’s health care expenses. Democrats remained solidly opposed to the legislation.

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Study finds health care overhaul would burden New Mexico

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