The Medicaid Forward Plan, introduced as House Bill 400 in New Mexico, is aimed at creating a state-administered health coverage plan. It is a flawed piece of legislation that would impose unnecessary regulations and reduce consumer choice, making it more difficult for businesses and individuals to access “affordable” healthcare.
A large percentage of Americans are enrolled in federal health programs, and government policies significantly affect healthcare spending. Government control has led to inefficient and outdated interventions in healthcare financing and delivery, leading to rising costs and bureaucratic and complex health insurance programs. Additionally, government policies have contributed to the consolidation of healthcare markets, reducing the number of independent medical practices, and limiting patient choices, leading to increased consumer costs.
Healthcare reform is necessary, but the question is whether governments should (1) improve the existing system of public and private coverage, expanding Americans’ personal choice and control, or (2) outlaw private and employment-based health coverage and launch a total government takeover of American healthcare. A consumer-driven, patient-centered system maximizes personal freedom in healthcare, where individuals can choose the care and coverage that they determine is best for themselves and their families.
Experts disagree on whether a single-payer healthcare system in the United States would save money or cost more, but the most prominent independent analysts project that the US would spend even more on healthcare. While a single-payer program might lower administrative costs and lower reimbursement rates for medical professionals and prescription drugs, there would still be a higher demand for free healthcare, which would outweigh all of these savings.
The program would require massive tax increases on working families to cover the anticipated costs. The most prominent experts project higher spending, and the funding for this comprehensive program would require massive tax increases on working families—not just the “rich”—to cover the anticipated costs. A single-payer system would also lead to government rationing of healthcare as officials would have to make big decisions about who gets care, how they get care, when they get care, and under which circumstances they get care.
House Bill 400, introduced by Reena Szczepanski, Javier Martínez, Siah Correa Hemphill, and Leo Jaramillo, relates to healthcare in the state of New Mexico. The bill enacts a new section of the Public Assistance Act to allow the Secretary of Human Services to amend the New Mexico State Medicaid Plan to create a state-administered health coverage plan, known as the Medicaid Forward Plan. The bill requires a study on the feasibility of implementation, as well as reporting and collaboration between the Human Services Department and the Office of the Superintendent of Insurance to enroll individuals in the plan.
The bill aims to provide medical assistance to residents under the age of 65 who are not otherwise eligible for mandatory or optional full Medicaid coverage under the New Mexico Medicaid State Plan, have a household income that exceeds 133% of the federal poverty level, and offers discounted premiums and cost-sharing to individuals with household incomes below 400% of the federal poverty level.
The bill also requires a study to be conducted on the feasibility of implementing the Medicaid forward plan and its effects on the individual, group, and self-insured health insurance markets, including the New Mexico health insurance exchange and health benefits programs provided to state or local public employees or public school employees. The study would be conducted in coordination with the superintendent of insurance and in consultation with the Medicaid Advisory Committee and representatives of Indian nations, tribes, and pueblos located wholly or partially in New Mexico.
House Bill 400 is a flawed piece of legislation that would do more harm than good. It would impose unnecessary regulations and increase bureaucratic red tape, making it more difficult for businesses and individuals to access affordable healthcare. The bill’s proposal to limit the availability of private insurance would reduce consumer choice and create long wait times for necessary medical procedures. It is not the right solution to address the complex issues facing New Mexico’s healthcare system and should be reconsidered in favor of more comprehensive and effective alternatives.