Welfare services in New Mexico has been one of the poorest in the United States, reflecting the overall dismal situation of the state, which has been plagued by high rates of poverty, unemployment and a number of social ills such as alcohol and drug use in addition to the high incidence of suicides. During the 1990s, about twenty percent of the 1.8 million residents received Medicaid (Castro and Singer 2004). This is significantly lower than the national coverage. The state policy network has attempted to reform the healthcare situation in New Mexico beginning in 1994. The ensuing development reflected a positive transformation that featured numerous strategies and programs that helped to effectively expand health coverage and the development of successful health initiatives.
Medicaid Modernization Development
There are three significant stages in the current Medicaid/health policy in New Mexico. Such stages collectively represent the roadmap by which Medicaid has operated in the state. Castro and Singer have explained this in detail. The first of these was during the time that Bruce King served as governor of the state. He pursued a “carve-out” strategy in managing care and dispensing healthcare services. In his approach, the mental health services were funded and administered separately from the physical health portion of a non-profit Medicaid program. The objective was for the state to save on costs and expenditures that supposedly taxed citizens too much. This direction was rejected by the Republican administration that succeeded King’s term....
Today, as reported by a congressional report in 2005, Medicaid in New Mexico “is the single largest payor for health care. All told, Medicaid programs cover the health costs of more than 400,000 New Mexicans… Although the least expensive to cover, those who benefit most from Medicaid are nearly 300,000 of New Mexico’s children… It also serves low-income adults and pregnant women. It also serves senior citizens and people with disabilities who receive the bulk of their health care through Medicare (US Congress 2005)”. Reform Implementation The Human Services Department's Medical Assistance Division (MAD) is the direct administrator of the New Mexico Medicaid program and leads the ongoing modernization efforts. In a report to the US Senate in 2005, Pamela Hyde, past Secretary of New Mexico’s HSD, stated that the agency, in pursuit of its objectives, had designed an innovative approach to behavioral services financing and service delivery, featuring the establishment of the state’s Interagency Behavioral Health Purchasing Collaborative. This interagency effort brought together 15 state agencies that enabled New Mexico to support and help the health requirements of its residents using different sources, including federal block grants, state general funds, and other funding resources in addition to Medicaid (Hyde, 2005). In New Mexico’s Medicaid Modernization Plan, it was declared that the state needed to modernize the Medicaid program to protect and improve services for those who depend on it most. As a result, Medicaid spending would rise to 16% of New Mexico’s total State budget in fiscal year 2012. Also the Health Care Reform would add approximately 130,000 to 175,000 new recipients to the Medicaid system , which will require around 300