Washington, D.C. – Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) today hosted a Medicaid Buy-In Roundtable between representatives from the New Mexico State Legislature and some of the most prominent healthcare policy experts in the country. Earlier this year, the New Mexico state legislature passed a Memorial that directed the New Mexico Legislative Health and Human Services (LHHS) Committee to study the policy and fiscal implications of offering a Medicaid Buy-In plan. Luján’s intended this Roundtable to assist New Mexico in developing a strong Medicaid Buy-In study and to connect state officials with national policy experts.
“I am incredibly grateful that such knowledgeable and dedicated health policy experts were willing to meet with me to help more people in my home state of New Mexico — and hopefully soon all across the county — gain access to quality affordable healthcare,” said Luján. “I introduced the federal Medicaid Public Option Act last year because I believe expanding the availability of low-cost, high-quality health plans to all Americans is the right thing to do. Though we would like to see the entire country embrace this opportunity, I don’t believe New Mexico has to wait. I look forward to helping the state navigate the federal hurdles that exist in this plan while crafting the best possible policy for the state of New Mexico.”
Participants in today’s event included:
- • Deborah Armstrong, Representative, New Mexico State Legislature
- • Emily Barson, Executive Director, United States of Care
- • Judy Solomon, Vice President of Health Policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
- • Maura Calsyn, Managing Director of Health Policy, Center for American Progress
- • Ryan Collins, Director of Government Affairs, Center for American Progress
- • Stan Dorn, Senior Fellow, Families USA
- • Shawn Gremminger, Senior Director of Federal Relations, Families USA
- • Jen Lav, Senior Attorney, National Health Law Program
- • Maureen Hensley-Quinn, Senior Program Director of Emerging Policy Issues, National Academy for State Health Policy
- • Maggie Elehwany, Vice President of Government Affairs, National Rural Health Association
- • Rachel Pryor, Minority Professional Staff, U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce
“The New Mexico state legislature has already taken one big bipartisan step forward and passed a Memorial to study this plan. As the Chairwoman of the Committee tasked with carrying out this study, I’m grateful for Congressman Luján’s help in gathering many of the brightest health policy minds in one room to help New Mexico,” said Representative Armstrong. “As Congressman Luján and I expressed today, we want experts asking the tough questions, and then we want them to help us come up with answers. We want experts to critique our plan, and then help us craft improvements. We want experts to find the holes in our logic and our data, and then help us fill them. We appreciate everyone’s attendance today and look forward to continuing to work together in the years to come.”
“We appreciate Congressman Luján's leadership in convening stakeholders and experts to discuss how to expand coverage through the Medicaid buy-in model,” said Emily Barson, Executive Director of United States of Care. “United States of Care looks forward to further collaboration with federal, state, and local leaders on increasing access to affordable health care in New Mexico and across the country.”
"Thank you to Representative Luján for hosting State Representative Debbie Armstrong and others to discuss the potential for a state Medicaid buy-in option in New Mexico. As a progressive leader on the Energy and Commerce committee, he is uniquely positioned to bring diverse voices together with the goal of expanding coverage,” said Maura Calsyn, Managing Director of Health Policy at the Center for American Progress. “Importantly, Rep. Luján is supporting state-based efforts to expand health care coverage at a time when the Trump administration and conservatives are working to sabotage the Affordable Care Act at the national level. These conversations about state level efforts will also be helpful in shaping the federal debate about ways to expand coverage."
“New Mexico’s recent legislative decision to study a Medicaid buy-in makes it one of the country’s leading states pursuing innovative policies to offer their residents affordable, high-quality health insurance choices,” said Stan Dorn, Senior Fellow at Families USA. “We are grateful to Congressman Luján for convening national experts to discuss how to implement the proposal, and we look forward to working with the Congressman, the rest of the New Mexico delegation, state legislators, state officials, and New Mexico’s amazing state consumer advocates to develop an approach that works for New Mexico’s families.”
"Medicaid buy-ins could be creative options for states like New Mexico that are earnestly seeking to expand and bolster health care coverage options for state residents," said National Health Law Program Senior Attorney Jennifer Lav. "States should be cautious in implementing Medicaid-buys to ensure that they do not unintentionally undermine the Medicaid program. Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico is taking a thoughtful and careful approach to Medicaid buy-ins, which is what is called for to ensure that Medicaid remains a comprehensive and accessible health care program tailored to address the health care needs of low-income individuals and undeserved communities."
"We appreciate the opportunity to join Representative Luján and such a diverse group of health policy stakeholders to discuss the important work of making sure New Mexicans are getting the healthcare they need. It is critical that our state and federal leaders work together to find solutions to ensure access to affordable coverage," said Maureen Hensley-Quinn, Senior Program Director of Emerging Policy Issues, National Academy for State Health Policy.
“The National Rural Health Association is greatly encouraged that Congressman Luján is steadfastly dedicated to improving access to coverage and care for the rural populations of New Mexico,” said Maggie Elehwany, Vice President of Government Affairs at National Rural Health Association. “We appreciate his leadership in fighting to improve health care disparities that plague rural populations by looking for solutions that will provide affordable health care coverage.”
In October, Luján introduced the State Public Option Act with Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), legislation to create a Medicaid-based public health care option on the insurance marketplace, which will provide Americans with a new high-quality, low-cost choice when purchasing health insurance. S. 2001 has 19 cosponsors in the Senate including Senators Sanders, Bookers, and Warren. H.R. 4129has 25 cosponsors in the House including multiple members from both the Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees. Groups endorsing the bill include prominent New Mexican health advocacy groups, Health Action New Mexico and New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty.