I am writing today to announce the closure of the New Mexico Independent. After three and a half years of operation in New Mexico, the board of the American Independent News Network, has decided to shift publication of its news…
Cutting Medicaid is the wrong thing to do in a recession, says NM group
Tucked away in the laundry list of items found in Gov. Bill Richardson’s proposed budget is a halt to an expansion of health care benefits for children, that was passed last August during a special session of the Legislature.
New Mexico Voices for Children thinks cutting Medicaid is a wrongheaded approach to solving the state’s budget crisis though. Sharon Kayne, communications director for Voices, said an expansion of Medicaid is actually good for the state economy, and therefore good for the tax base. “The way to deal with the revenue problem isn’t to cut spending, it’s to find new revenue,” she continued. “Cutting spending isn’t the way out of a recession.”
As many may recall, Richardson called the special session ostensibly to push through an expansion of health care in New Mexico; over 400,000 New Mexicans are without health care coverage. The extension of health care benefits to children, which included a greater state contribution to the Medicaid program, was heralded as a victory.
Then, the Legislative Finance Committee proposed in its budget a 1 percent reduction in Medicaid.
“Full funding of Medicaid is good for children and it’s good for the economy,” Kayne said. “For every $1 we give to Medicaid, we get almost $3 matched by the federal government.
Kayne suggested that the Legislature should examine where it might raise revenue that is currently not being collected although it ought to be. As one example, she said, multi-state corporations aren’t required to report and pay corporate income tax on the income they earn in New Mexico, so many report this income elsewhere and New Mexico doesn’t get a penny. A bill to close this “loophole” is referred to as the Mandatory Combined Reporting bill — or as some reporters say, the “Wal-Mart bill.”