SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Enrollment in Medicaid has increased by nearly 7% in New Mexico since the outset of the coronavirus pandemic as employers shed jobs and more families descend into poverty, state health regulators told a panel of legislators Friday.
Human Services Secretary David Scrase praised federal legislation approved in March that increased the federal matching rate for Medicaid health care and allowed the state to quickly extend no-charge coronavirus testing to the poor and undocumented immigrants.
At the same time, he said the current 6.2% boost in federal matching funds is inadequate to keep up with rebounding demand for medical services under Medicaid and could end abruptly at the discretion of federal health regulators.
He warned that changes to a federal public health emergency declaration could thrust as much as $150 million in annual Medicaid obligations into the state general fund. He said it is too soon to know how the federal government will proceed in a presidential election year.
“I think our congressional delegation is well aware of the need to sustain funding in the Medicaid program through at least June of 2021,” he said.
The federal government now provides $4.15 for every dollar in state general fund spending on Medicaid spending, up from $3.54 before the pandemic, Medicaid Assistance Director Nicole Comeaux told legislators.