More work needed to resolve NM’s medical provider challenge

According to recent news reports (and RGF’s own work) more work needs to be done to address New Mexico’s medical provider crisis, especially in rural areas. Talk of an obstetrics “desert” and two-thirds of hospitals in the state with expenses exceed their revenue over the last 12 months dominated recent hearings.

For starters, New Mexico is by no means alone in facing a health care shortage. A recent Wallethub report ranked the State 34th overall. America’s increasingly government-driven health care system is inherently dysfunctional.

However, while the Legislature tackled some low-hanging fruit in the last session like addressing medical malpractice, ending GRT on medical providers, and pumping up Medicaid reimbursements, there is more to be done and this is where it gets difficult. Also, some issues impacting the supply of health practitioners (like immigration policy) are not under state control.

  • Reducing the State’s Medicaid dependency is a starting point with 47% of the State’s population on the government program.
  • Expanding New Mexico’s scope of practice laws and increasing use of telemedicine.
  • Reduce income taxes (doctors are high earning professionals)
  • Work broadly to improve the economy, especially in rural areas.

There is plenty to be done. We’ll see if Gov. Lujan Grisham and the Legislature have the will to take on these challenging issues.

The Challenge of Rural Health Care