Slaying New Mexico’s Medicaid Monster

As Rob Nikolewski of Capitol Report New Mexico pointed out recently, Medicaid is going to gobble up an ever-greater share of the State budget absent reforms. Of course, the left-wingers over at Voices for Children never met a budget cut they could get behind, so they have opposed efforts to rein in Medicaid spending at every turn.

We, at the Rio Grande Foundation, on the other hand, have repeatedly pointed policymakers to various ideas that could slow the growth in Medicaid without harming care quality. Long term care insurance is particularly ripe for reform. Ironically, it is relatively wealthy seniors who use planning techniques to stick taxpayers with the bill for long term care.

The following chart from our friends at the Washington Policy Center illustrates who receives Medicaid and where the costs are:

Medicaid Recipients by Category and their Per-Person Costs for FY 2005
Category               % of Total Recipients               Cost per Recipient/Year

Children                 51%                                            $1,667
Adults                    24%                                            $2,475
Aged                         9%                                            $13,675
Disabled                  16%                                           $13,846

Certainly, it would be nice to have an Administration in Washington that was serious about making Medicaid a sustainable program, but this one is too busy expanding the program and both parties have been ignoring the problem for years.