ObamaCare costs coming home to roost for New Mexico

Unfortunately, when you head up a free market think tank that is skeptical of grand government schemes, you spend a lot of time saying “I told you so. See the New Mexico Spaceport and Rail Runner for examples, but for a biggie, check out pre-financial crisis efforts by the National Taxpayers Union on the government-sponsored mortgage lender Fannie Mae.

Well, the latest “I told you so’s” are in order thanks to ObamaCare, the massive health care law that put the federal government in charge of 1/8th of the US economy and which the Rio Grande Foundation opposed from the start.

According to a front page story in the Albuquerque Journal which related testimony from the Legislative Finance Committee, Medicaid is going to bankrupt New Mexico in the near future. Rep. Jason Harper said, “..Medicaid is going to be a budget-buster.” and Rep. Larranaga described Medicaid as a “runaway train.” Just to be clear, New Mexico is looking at a one year Medicaid spending increase from $891.7 million to $976.9 million. That’s a 8.5 percent one-year hike. With the federal government’s share of Medicaid expansion costs declining from 100% to 95% in 2017, there is no doubt that New Mexico faces real and long-term budgetary challenges.

A second ObamaCare story got our attention as well, this one from KOB TV which reported that New Mexicans can expect an average price hike of nearly 26 percent – the fourth-highest increase in the country. In a survey of 30 US metro areas, Albuquerque and Santa Fe are seeing the third-highest increase – at 25 percent. Ouch. NOTE: KOB TV corrected its story (here) after this posting was made to indicate that the real annual increase was 7 percent, not 25 percent.  Similar data on New Mexico were reported by the national media as well. Amazing that this law is so complex that even figuring out annual price hikes is a guessing game.