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Friday, July 08, 2011

Speak Out: Schedule of Upcoming Meetings Around State on Medicaid Reform

The New Mexico Human Services Department has scheduled a series of public input hearings (see list below the break) on Medicaid reform. HSD says the hearings are "designed to solicit input from the public on how the state can continue to protect and improve Medicaid services for New Mexicans who depend on them the most." If you're concerned (and you should be) about the direction Gov. Susana Martinez intends to take on Medicaid "modernization," now's the time to speak up.

As the Santa Fe New Mexican reported on a legislative hearing last month on the Martinez administration's plans regarding the future of Medicaid, many legislators are suspicious about the governor's true goals:

The Martinez administration's plans to overhaul Medicaid have provoked concern, even fear, among New Mexico's health care advocates and some of the program's recipients. And that anxiety was evident at Tuesday's hearing. 

"You have a fight on your hands if you think we are going to give in" to a Republican political statement, said Democratic Rep. Miguel Garcia of Albuquerque. 

Meanwhile, Sen. Nancy Rodriguez, D-Santa Fe, got to the heart of one of the advocates' concerns: that the Medicaid redesign is a way to cull people from the program's rolls. 

Of course HSD Secretary Sidoni Squier claims otherwise, but we all know the administration has been less than forthcoming on any number of issues and drastically cutting Medicaid is a national priority of the GOP:

"We have no intention of removing people from Medicaid rolls," Squier said. "I do think we do have some financial issues and we are trying to address them through the modernization plan." 

Although Martinez has said we need to overhaul Medicaid because New Mexico can't pay for the program at its current levels, many have disputed that claim. For instance, New Mexico Voices for Children issued a report last month explaining how federal funds coming to the state via the enactment of federal health care reform legislation would result in significant additional funds moving through the state's economy in coming years -- as well as the creation of tens of thousands of new jobs -- producing billions of dollars in additional tax revenue. In addition, the federal government will pay nearly all of the costs for new Medicaid enrollees allowed under federal reform for the first few years. 

The Martinez administration first created a whole lot of suspicion and concern when it quietly put its Medicaid restructuring plan out to bid, without public hearings or any public or legislative input at all. A contract was announced in May with Washington-based Alicia Smith & Associates to help the Human Services Department reshape New Mexico's Medicaid program, for the sum of almost $1.7 million. It's not known how much impact the public's input will have in the type of changes Alicia Smith & Associates will seek to implement. All we can do is try!

Upcoming public input sessions: 

July 12, 2011, 3:00 to 5:00 PM – Farmington – San Juan College, Room 7103, 4601 College Blvd., Farmington 

July 26, 2011, 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM – Roswell - Roswell Public Library, Bondurant Room, 301 N. Pennsylvania Ave., Roswell 

July 27, 2011, 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM – Las Cruces – NM Farm and Ranch Museum Theater, 4100 Dripping Springs Rd., Las Cruces 

July 28, 2011, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM – Albuquerque – UNM Continuing Education Building, Rooms G & H, 1534 University Blvd NE, Albuquerque 

August 2, 2011, 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM – Santa Fe – Willie Ortiz Building, 2600 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe 

August 3, 2011, 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM – Tribal Consultation, Albuquerque – Location TBD 

New Mexico’s Medicaid programs currently serve more than 550,000 New Mexicans, the majority of which (335,000) are children. The Fiscal Year 2012 budget is $3.75 billion dollars (state and federal funding). With the implementation of federal health care reform, it is estimated that an additional 130,000 to 175,000 will qualify for the program. 

A Frequently Asked Questions paper, with more details about the Medicaid Modernization Plan and next steps, along with the schedule of public input sessions, are posted on the HSD website.

July 8, 2011 at 01:45 PM in Economy, Populism, Events, Healthcare, Susana Martinez | Permalink


It makes you wonder how many of the poor pendejos on Medicaid voted for Susanna Martinez.

Posted by: qofdisks | Jul 12, 2011 2:12:18 PM

Sad but true.

Posted by: Elena | Jul 12, 2011 8:49:49 PM