BERNALILLO COUNTY News:
The Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners, after hearing from NM Together for Healthcare leaders from Bernalillo County, passed a resolution Sept. 11 that supports the state’s commitment to exploring an innovative proposal to allow New Mexicans to purchase health insurance coverage through Medicaid — including those who do not qualify for Medicaid or cannot afford to use their current insurance.
“The Medicaid Buy-in plan is important because insurance is very expensive, and all New Mexicans need healthcare coverage,” said Reyna Tovar, a Partnership for Community Action healthcare advocate and Bernalillo County resident. “When my husband was unemployed, we did not have health insurance. When he found a new job, he had to wait six months until he qualified for health insurance through his employer. We did not have coverage during this time because we made too much for Medicaid and Obamacare was too expensive to use.”
Medicaid already covers over 850,000 New Mexicans, including over 228,065 Bernalillo County residents. The plan would expand Medicaid for all New Mexican’s to buy into, providing low-cost coverage for the over 54,000 Bernalillo County residents who are still uninsured. It would also provide affordable health insurance to individuals who are not eligible for Medicaid due to income, immigration status, and for those who have healthcare coverage but cannot afford to use it.
“A Buy-in program would build upon Medicaid’s strong foundation to ensure that families do not have to choose between death and financial ruin,” said Lan Sena, a resident of Bernalillo County and a Strong Families New Mexico healthcare advocate. “My grandfather, an immigrant, could not get Medicaid when he had cancer and died because he could not afford treatment. I have cancer too, and even though I have insurance, I still cannot afford my treatments.”
“I have to choose whether to pay for healthcare insurance or gas for my car,” Tovar said. “Many people don’t qualify for Medicaid or earn slightly too much for Medicaid and cannot afford to pay for healthcare on their own.”
Bernalillo County will share the resolution with state legislators and include this resolution in their legislative requests for the upcoming 2019 session.