|Sidonie Squier, |
• For how long will the federal government guarantee the match it is expected to provide for states to help pay for the expansion of the program?
• If the feds provide a lower match, can states then adjust their eligibility requirements for the program?
• Could the state pay premiums for people who enroll in exchange programs instead of in the traditional Medicaid program and still receive federal matching funds? (Exchange programs are new health care plans that will be regulated by states and will be eligible for federal subsidies.)
• Could the state expand eligibility to a lesser level than 138 percent of the federal poverty level?
The department would like to hear back from federal officials in a “timely” manner, but the state hasn’t publicly set a deadline for deciding on Medicaid expansion. Kennicott said department employees have spent countless hours on the issue. “It’s a constant topic of conversation for us,” he said. “It takes up a good deal of discussion time on any given day.” The state for years has had among the highest rates of uninsured residents, although new census figures indicate that has eased a bit. About 22 percent of New Mexicans were without health insurance in 2010, a figure that dropped to 19.6 percent in 2011. The uninsured rate is a problem that both Republican and Democratic officials in the past have worked to reduce. Read more