Plan to Study Innovative Medicaid Buy-in Option Passes Full House

Rep. Debbie Armstrong’s memorial to study allowing low-income, uninsured New Mexicans to buy-in to Medicaid for health care coverage passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 42-22 on Monday.


“With more than 180,000 low-income New Mexicans still lacking health care coverage—despite the tremendous gains in health care access made by the Affordable Care Act—we must look at innovative policy ideas to ensure every New Mexican can see a doctor when they need to,” Armstrong said.


Medicaid, which has provided thousands of New Mexicans access to quality health care for more than 50 years, is a trusted program with a proven track record. A buy-in program would allow low-income New Mexicans to access Medicaid services for a fee, which would be used to bolster the overall Medicaid program in the state


Armstrong’s memorial, HM 9, would allow the Legislative Health and Human Services Committee to begin exploring how a buy-in program might work in New Mexico. Specifically, LHHS would seek public feedback and work with the Office of the Superintendent of Insurance to analyze health coverage costs in the state.


Given that 42 percent of New Mexicans are currently covered by Medicaid and 20 percent are covered by Medicare, Armstrong and advocates say that the state is well positioned to advance a Medicaid buy-in program because it has already had such success with public health coverage programs.


“New Mexico’s unique health care needs and existing health coverage systems make it an ideal place to implement innovative health coverage policies, like Medicaid buy-in,” Armstrong said.


With the passage of the memorial, the LHHSC can begin to study the feasibility of a Medicaid buy-in option in New Mexico.



About Rep. Armstrong: Debbie, Chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee, is a long-time health care advocate serving her second term in the New Mexico House of Representatives. Having started her career as a physical therapist, she has worked extensively as a health care administrator, working 10 years with Presbyterian Medical Services in Santa Fe. Prior to serving as Secretary of New Mexico’s Aging and Long-Terms Services Department, she oversaw the department’s Consumer and Elder Rights Division. Debbie is the mother of three adult children. She lives in Albuquerque’s North Valley.  Follow her on Twitter @NMRepArmstrong and on Facebook, and sign up for email and text updates.

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