The Affordable Care Act (also known as "ObamaCare") includes the critical expansion of Medicaid, a health program that provides coverage for the poorest Americans. The new law sets aside billions of dollars for New Mexico to expand coverage to thousands of currently uninsured working poor people in the state.
Governor Martinez has a choice: accept the federal funds and provide health care to struggling New Mexicans most in need, or deny this funding, leaving some 200,000 of our poorest residents to fend for themselves.
This should not be a partisan political issue. We all benefit when people have access to the basic health care Medicaid provides.
Please sign this petition asking Governor Martinez to support the expansion of Medicaid and extend coverage to thousands of New Mexico's struggling families.
Also take a moment to call the governor at 505-476-2200 and tell her to uphold her campaign promises to support New Mexico's working poor, who are counting on her to expand Medicaid.
Here is a list of the benefits of expanding Medicaid in New Mexico:
• Medicaid Expansion will provide health coverage for some 200,000 New Mexicans, most of whom are “working poor” adults—they have jobs but no health insurance. Now when they get any health care, it’s likely to be in the emergency room at great expense to everyone. Medicaid coverage will mean these individuals can get check-ups and preventive services, follow-up care for accidents or illnesses, and management of chronic diseases. This is a golden opportunity to reduce New Mexico’s high rate of uninsured and will bring us up from the bottom of the national rankings on health coverage. Far beyond statistics, this is literally a matter of life and death for poor people who otherwise can’t afford insurance or routine health care.
• It's a real bargain for the state. The federal government will pay the entire cost of the Medicaid expansion for the first three years. The federal share then will gradually phase down to 90% for 2020 and thereafter. The most the state will ever pay is just ten cents on the dollar. Even that minimal portion of the cost will be more than covered by revenues the state will reap from existing health-care tax revenue generated by the Medicaid expansion. Additionally, the expansion will save the state $40 to $60 million annually because we’ll no longer have to fund the State Coverage Insurance program.
• If we refuse the money, New Mexicans' tax dollars will support coverage in other states but not here. Many other states will choose to expand Medicaid and the costs will be paid mostly by federal dollars. If New Mexico does not expand Medicaid, we will still be paying federal taxes to support other states’ programs without getting the benefits of health coverage for New Mexicans.
• Fairness. The federal law was written assuming that low-income people could get coverage through Medicaid. They are not eligible for subsidies to buy private insurance. If New Mexico refuses to expand Medicaid, poor families—including parents and people working for low wages—won’t have the means to afford it.
• Jobs. Federal Medicaid funds for the expansion will inject billions into New Mexico’s economy starting in 2014. The economic activity generated by these new federal dollars will create tens of thousands of new jobs in our state, especially in rural areas, and increase revenues to state coffers.
• Reduce Uncompensated Care. New Mexico hospitals and other health care providers furnish an estimated $335 million in uncompensated care every year. When people have health coverage like Medicaid, doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers can count on getting paid for their services. That’s not only good for the providers, but it also reduces the burden on local governments to help cover these costs through their County Indigent Funds, which are paid for by taxpayers.
• Lower Health Insurance Premiums. Uncompensated care also raises insurance premiums for everyone as hospitals and other providers try to recover those costs. A typical New Mexico family with private insurance pays an estimated $2,300 extra each year to cover uncompensated care. Because we have the second highest percentage of uninsured residents in the country, this cost-shifting to insurance premiums is particularly high in New Mexico—and it will continue if we leave people uninsured rather than covering them through the expansion of Medicaid. Businesses that pay for health insurance for their employees will be big losers if the state does not expand Medicaid.
• SAVE LIVES. A July 2012 study by Harvard University examined data from states who had expanded Medicaid. The study found a 6.1% decrease in deaths or 2,840 adults lives per 500,000 people. http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2012/07/26/Study-Expanded-Medicaid-saves-lives/UPI-91491343361039/