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Options to save Medicaid

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It’s possible to save the program without killing the patient

Everybody wants to save Medicaid.
It’s the goal of Human Services Secretary Sidonie Squier and advocacy groups like Health Action New Mexico.
But how they go about it sounds like a TV doctor show, with surgeons squabbling over a patient lying open on the table.
A new study suggests savings in the program that covers the poor and disabled, without cutting.
First, the numbers: One in four New Mexicans relies on Medicaid.
In 2014, thanks to the president’s Affordable Care Act, the state could see 130,000 to 175,000 new enrollees, which will cost $330 million to $660 million more.
However, the federal government will pay all of that cost for the first three years and 90 percent after that.
Squiers leans toward copays for some expensive services and rewards for patients who take responsibility for their health, such as not smoking, rather than cutting enrollment or reimbursement rates.
But studies show that if you increase costs to people with little money, they go without health care and get sicker. And cost more later on.
Squiers would also use pay-for-performance targets that encourage better health care outcomes – quality – instead of paying for services in quantity.
Here she sounds a theme similar to the latest study.


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