State Medicaid Programs – New Mexico, Colorado

State Medicaid Program – New Mexico

New Mexico considering changes to Medicaid program, By Susan Montoya Bryan (AP), June 2, 2017, Albuquerque Journal: “State officials say keeping costs down while improving the delivery of health care for New Mexico’s poorest residents is the focus as they propose changes to the Medicaid program to ensure sustainability as enrollment grows. More than a quarter-million state residents have enrolled since the program’s expansion in 2014. Now, more than 40 percent of children, the disabled and other low-income adults in New Mexico are covered…”

Medicaid Births – New Mexico

NM has highest rate of Medicaid-covered births, By Rick Nathanson, March 28, 2017, Albuquerque Journal: “New Mexico leads the nation in the percentage of babies born into Medicaid families – which can be taken as a reflection of the state’s high poverty rate or an indication that government here takes care of its own. According to figures from 2015, 72 percent of the births reported in New Mexico were paid for by Medicaid, a jointly funded federal-state health insurance program for low-income, disabled and other people who qualify…”

State and Local Minimum Wages

  • Minimum wage increase clears Senate, By Dan Boyd, March 1, 2017, Albuquerque Journal: “A bill that would increase New Mexico’s minimum wage for the first time since 2009 is headed to the House after cruising through the Senate on Wednesday with bipartisan support.  The Senate voted 24-6 to pass the measure, which would – over the next year – increase the state’s minimum wage from $7.50 to $9 an hour…”
  • Businesses grapple with hike in St. Louis’ minimum wage, By Lisa Brown, March 2, 2017, St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “Usually the biggest worry Ed Brock has this time of year is making sure the Mardi Gras beads and accessories are replaced with St. Patrick’s Day items. Now, the owner of Johnnie Brock’s Dungeon, the city’s biggest costume and accessories shop, has a new headache: an unexpected increase in the city’s minimum wage is throwing his business into upheaval.  ‘I’m still digesting it,’ Brock said Wednesday, the day after the Missouri Supreme Court upheld the city of St. Louis’ minimum wage increase, leaving business owners such as he scrambling to figure out whether to make immediate changes or wait to implement a higher wage for employees…”

Kids Count Report – New Mexico

  • Kids Count report is a mixed bag for New Mexico, By Rick Nathanson, January 17, 2016, Albuquerque Journal: “The annual New Mexico Kids Count Data Book released Tuesday shows the most improvement in measures of children’s health, but little improvement in measures of family economic well-being.  The data book, a project of New Mexico Voices for Children, showed declines in the rate of babies with low birth weight, in children without health insurance, and in teens abusing alcohol and drugs. The teen birth rate has also declined, following a similar national trend…”
  • Despite upticks, N.M. still tough for kids, By Robert Nott, January 17, 2017, Santa Fe New Mexican: “Nearly all New Mexico children have health care insurance, and sharply fewer of the state’s teenagers are abusing drugs and alcohol, a new report says. Overall, however, New Mexico remains a tough place for kids…”

State Medicaid Programs

  • New Mexico seeks copays from Medicaid patients, By Morgan Lee (AP), October 26, 2016, News Tribune: “New Mexico is pursuing federal authority to charge medical co-payments and some other costs to patients enrolled in Medicaid health care for the poor and disabled, the state Human Services Department secretary told lawmakers on Wednesday.  Secretary Brent Earnest said ‘nominal’ co-payments and other charges would provide a small economic incentive to steer patients away from wasteful expenses, such as the use of emergency room services for routine care…”
  • Medicaid expansion credited for getting record number of kids insurance in Ohio, By Catherine Candisky, October 27, 2016, Columbus Dispatch: “More than 95 percent of Ohio children have health coverage as the uninsured rate fell to historic lows in the wake of Obamacare.  A new report from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families credits Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act for the decline in uninsured children…”
  • In Maryland, diabetics cost Medicaid twice as much, study finds, By Andrea K. McDaniels and Meredith Cohn, October 27, 2016, Baltimore Sun: “People with diabetes cost the state’s Medicaid program twice as much as those without the chronic condition, a study commissioned by the society that represents Maryland’s doctors has found…”

Kids Count Report – New Mexico

New study finds New Mexico has the highest rate of child poverty in the U.S., By Robert Nott, January 19, 2016, Santa Fe New Mexican: “New Mexico has the highest rate of child poverty in the United States, according to a new study by New Mexico Voices for Children, an Albuquerque-based advocacy group. In addition, more than 75 percent of the state’s fourth-graders are not proficient in reading, and nearly 80 percent of New Mexico’s eighth-graders are not proficient in math, the group said, based on its annual New Mexico Kids Count study. More than 25 percent of the state’s students do not graduate from high school on time…”

Kids Count Report – New Mexico

Child report: a few improvements in NM, By Rick Nathanson, January 20, 2015, Albuquerque Journal: “It’s not all bad news, but still pretty bad. The 2014 Kids Count data book for New Mexico and produced by New Mexico Voices for Children, says the state saw improvement in just five of the 16 indicators of child well-being. Worse, child poverty—a main factor in poor outcomes— increased from 28 percent in 2012 to 31 percent in 2013, even as it decreased in most of the rest of the nation…”

Kids Count Report – New Mexico

Kids Count report released at New Mexico Capitol, Associated Press, January 15, 2013, Santa Fe New Mexican: “A New Mexico children’s advocacy group on Tuesday presented the latest troubling statistics on child poverty, teen birth rates and math and reading proficiency during the first day of the legislative session, hoping to spur action by lawmakers. Officials with New Mexico Voices for Children and others gathered at the state Capitol to release the annual New Mexico Kids Count report. It shows 42 percent of New Mexico children now live in single-parent households, and the state ranks last when it comes to the reading proficiency of fourth-graders. Overall, New Mexico ranks 49th in child well-being, behind Mississippi…”

State Medicaid Programs

  • Feds allow limited cuts to Medicaid, not to level LePage wanted, By Matthew Stone, January 8, 2013, Bangor Daily News: “The federal government will allow Maine to make limited cuts to its Medicaid program, but not to the extent Gov. Paul LePage ’s administration sought last year as it looked to close a $20 million budget hole. The state will book only a fifth of the originally projected savings as a result. The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services notified state officials on Monday that they can cut about 12,600 low-income parents and caretakers from Maine’s Medicaid rolls and cut or reduce coverage for about 8,300 elderly residents who also qualify for Medicare and rely on Medicaid support to purchase prescription drugs. The federal government, however, didn’t allow the LePage administration to cut coverage for about 6,500 19- and 20-year-olds or cut off coverage for as many parents and caretakers as the administration and Republican lawmakers had sought…”
  • Low-income kids shuffled onto Medi-Cal, By Victoria Colliver, January 4, 2013, San Francisco Chronicle: “On Tuesday, California started dismantling a popular health care program for low-income children by shifting nearly 200,000 young people into the massive Medi-Cal program, a move many health advocates fear will disrupt their care. And this is just the first phase of the transition away from the program called Healthy Families. By August, the nearly 900,000 people in the program will be shifted into Medi-Cal. The move is expected to save the state about $58 million in health care costs in 2013-14 and more than $70 million a year when Healthy Families is fully phased out…”
  • New Mexico to join Medicaid expansion program, By Dennis Domrzalski, January 9, 2013, Albuquerque Business First: “Gov. Susana Martinez said Wednesday that New Mexico will join the Medicaid expansion program under the federal Affordable Care Act. The decision means an additional 170,000 low-income adults will be eligible for health care under the joint federal-state program. The expansion will take effect in January 2014. More than 530,000 New Mexicans already receive health care through Medicaid…”

State Medicaid Programs – Maine, New Mexico

  • LePage’s claims that Maine’s Medicaid spending is above average are true, By Clarke Canfield (AP), February 20, 2012, Bangor Daily News: “In his relentless demands for steep Medicaid cuts, Gov. Paul LePage has said Maine spends far more per capita than other states on Medicaid and is high above the national average. Whether you support or oppose LePage’s cost-cutting proposals, he’s right. Maine had the nation’s fifth-highest Medicaid coverage rate in fiscal year 2009, 27.8 percent, behind California, New Mexico, Louisiana and Vermont, according to the latest statistics for Maine from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The national rate for the same period was 21 percent. Maine’s Medicaid expenses for that year amounted to $1,890 per resident. That’s 61 percent higher than the national average of $1,173 per person, according to CMMS statistics…”
  • New Mexico proposes to overhaul Medicaid program, By Barry Massey, February 21, 2012, February 21, 2012, Boston Globe: “Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration is proposing to overhaul a program that provides health care to a fourth of the state’s population, and the changes could require some needy New Mexicans to dig into their pockets to pay a fee if they go to an emergency room for medical care that’s not considered an emergency. One of the goals of the planned revision is to slow the rate of growth in Medicaid, which accounts for 16 percent of this year’s state budget and costs New Mexico taxpayers nearly $1 billion…”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – New Mexico

Martinez extends state’s food stamp aid, By Barry Massey (AP), June 6, 2011, Santa Fe New Mexican: “Republican Gov. Susana Martinez announced Monday she will extend a state program through September to supplement federal food-stamp benefits for about 4,000 low-income elderly and disabled New Mexicans. Martinez will use federal economic stimulus money to prevent a reduction of food-stamp benefits starting in July, when the program otherwise would have ended. The Legislature did not approve any money for the program in the upcoming fiscal year, which starts next month, although the Martinez administration had requested $650,000. The governor estimated it will cost $50,000 a month to continue the food-stamp assistance…”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – New Mexico

State plans to stop food stamp supplement for elderly, By Barry Massey (AP), June 2, 2011, Alamogordo Daily News: “About 4,000 low-income elderly and disabled New Mexicans will see their food stamp benefits drop in July due to state budget cuts. Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration plans to end a state program that supplements federal food stamp benefits for the elderly and disabled to ensure they get at least $25 a month in assistance. ‘That’s 4,000 seniors who will have less money for food. That’s the impact,’ Ruth Hoffman, director of Lutheran Advocacy Ministry in New Mexico, said Tuesday. New Mexicans who qualify for $16 a month in federal food stamps – currently the minimum amount from the federal government – also get an extra $9 a month from the state to make certain their combined assistance is $25. But the Democratic-controlled Legislature provided no money to continue the supplemental benefits in the upcoming budget year, which starts July 1. The Martinez administration had requested $600,000 from the Legislature to continue the program…”

States and Medicaid Incentive Programs

  • Medicaid to offer rewards for healthy behavior, By Aimee Miles, April 8, 2011, Kaiser Health News: “A federal grant program authorized in the health overhaul law is offering states $100 million to reward Medicaid recipients who make an effort to quit smoking or keep their weight, blood pressure or cholesterol levels in check. The grant program is meant to encourage states, many of which are under pressure to cut Medicaid costs, to experiment with an uncertain approach to wellness: offering incentives for healthy behavior. ‘Medicaid is almost the sweet spot for financial rewards,’ said George Loewenstein, a behavioral economist at Carnegie Mellon University who has studied the effect of financial incentives on behavior. Medicaid recipients, he explains, are economically disadvantaged and have more to gain from incentives. Loewenstein, however, is dubious about whether incentives, especially those tied to weight loss, could really work. He’s not alone. Behavioral incentive programs have shown some promise in specific settings, but they are largely untested in the Medicaid population…”
  • State seeks ways to stretch Medicaid dollars, By Trip Jennings, April 4, 2011, Santa Fe New Mexican: “New Mexico smokers who rely on Medicaid might rethink that next cigarette. The same goes for that sugary pastry. Like other states struggling to find ways to stretch dollars spent on health care for the poor, New Mexico is seeking ways to save money on the fast-expanding government insurance program. Encouraging Medicaid enrollees to take more responsibility for their own health issues is likely to be part of the discussion. Last month, New Mexico’s human services agency quietly issued a 61-page document inviting bidders to contemplate ways to redesign Medicaid, which serves roughly one in four New Mexicans. Among the issues the state Human Services Department highlighted when seeking proposals from interested firms is changing the responsibilities of Medicaid enrollees for such things as cost sharing and healthy behaviors…”

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – New Mexico

More New Mexico families using food assistance, By Sandra Baltazar Martinez, November 2, 2010, The New Mexican: “More New Mexicans have turned to the federal government for food help in the past year, in part because of the weak economy and partly because of a change in eligibility. As of September, 165,000 families had received the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, up from 135,000 in September 2009. The numbers have been rising since 2008, when the economy started to sour, said Betina Gonzales McCracken, public-information officer for New Mexico Human Services Department…”

Child Care Subsidies – New Mexico

State officials cut $13.5M from Child Care Assistance Service program, By Elizabeth Piazza, September 21, 2010, Farmington Daily Times: “Hundreds of families in San Juan County could find themselves without child care after state officials cut $13.5 million from the Child Care Assistance Service program. Officials from the New Mexico Human Services Department announced that beginning Nov. 1, families who fall above the federal poverty level, which is based on number of people living in a household and income level, will no longer be eligible for state assistance to pay for child care, said Katherine Slater-Huff, department spokeswoman. ‘We are looking at and trying to balance the needs of all participants who receive services from the many TANF-funded programs,’ Slater-Huff said of the department’s decision to cut child care funding. The child care assistance service program is funded by TANF, an acronym for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. The child care cuts come as a result of a $28 million shortfall for the TANF program, Slater-Huff said…”

States and Medicaid Coverage – Tennessee, New Mexico

  • TennCare may curtail coverage to reduce costs, By Chas Sisk, November 19, 2009, The Tenneseean: “People covered by TennCare may face new limits on their coverage and reductions in their benefits next year, under a plan unveiled Wednesday to help slice state spending. TennCare officials said that they could impose a new $10,000 annual cap on hospital coverage for the 1.2 million state residents enrolled in the program…”
  • NM considers scaling back Medicaid coverage, By Barry Massey (AP), November 20, 2009, Las Cruces Sun-News: “Gov. Bill Richardson’s administration is proposing to overhaul Medicaid and scale back health care services to some lower-income New Mexicans to cope with a projected budget shortfall of $300 million next year in the state’s largest health care program. Human Services Department officials told lawmakers on Thursday that Medicaid benefits and eligibility likely would be limited to minimum federal requirements, such as covering low-income pregnant woman and some children. A package of health care services would be available to other needy individuals-currently covered by Medicaid because the state has expanded eligibility-but they would need to pay premiums and copays. Those fees would vary based on income. The effort to trim Medicaid comes at a difficult financial time. The state faces a half billion budget shortfall next year…”