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On February 27th, Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), hosted a Medicaid Buy-In roundtable discussion, with the intent to connect the New Mexico Legislature with national healthcare professionals to collaborate and develop a robust Medicaid Buy-In study. The study tried to find ways to reduce the state’s uninsured rate. This would be achieved by making health insurance more affordable and allow those who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid to pay premiums for a Medicaid-like program.  

Those in attendance of the Medicaid Buy-In roundtable included:  

  • Judy Solomon, Vice President of Health Policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities 
  • Maura Calsyn, Managing Director of Health Policy, Center for American Progress 
  • Ryan Collins, Director of Government Affairs, Center for American Progress 
  • Jen Lav, Senior Attorney, National Health Law Program 
  • Maureen Hensley-Quinn, Senior Program Director of Emerging Policy Issues, National Academy for State Health Policy 
  • Maggie Elehwany, Vice President of Government Affairs, National Rural Health Association 
  • Rachel Pryor, Minority Professional Staff, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce 

According to New Mexico’s Indicator-Based Information System (NM-IBIS), the uninsured rate has dropped from 16.8% in 2013 to 10.9% in 2015. While the US Census says that the 2013 uninsured rate was 18.6% and reduced in half by 2016 to 9.2%. Even though there is a slight margin of error, the uninsured rate has dropped significantly. Overall, New Mexico’s health rating has faced several challenges, and according to America’s Health Rankings, New Mexico ranked 37th place in 2015 and is now at 36th place as of 2017. 

The Medicaid Buy-In program isn’t only for New Mexico; it would also help other states, although the states would need waivers to implement the Buy-In.  

“I’m incredibly grateful that such knowledgeable and dedicated health policy experts were willing to meet with me to help more people in my home state of New Mexico –  and hopefully soon all across the country – gain access to quality, affordable healthcare.” – Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) 

Rep. Luján continued, “I introduced the federal Medicaid Public Option Act last year because I believe expanding the availability of low-cost, high-quality health plans to all is the right thing to do. I look forward to helping NM navigate the hurdles that exist while crafting the best possible policy.” 

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