(Albuquerque) One of the most important decisions facing state policymakers in the months ahead is whether or not to expand their Medicaid programs. Under President Obama’s health care law – as originally written – known as the “Affordable Care Act” or“ObamaCare,” the states would have been required to expand their Medicaid programs to 138 percent of poverty level.

This requirement was struck down by the US Supreme Court, but states are being strongly incentivized to expand Medicaid with the “carrot” of federal matching grants of up to 100% initially. Advocates say that New Mexico should take the “free” money and eagerly expand their Medicaid programs.

Dr. Deane Waldman, an adjunct scholar with the Rio Grande Foundation and a practicing pediatric cardiologist, has a different perspective. In his new report, “What Should New Mexico Do About Medicaid,” which is available here, he explains the issues with Medicaid from both the doctors’ and patients’ perspectives.

Waldman explains the major differences between Medicare and Medicaid, outlines some of the serious problems with Medicaid, and gives examples of Medicaid reforms that have worked in other states like Florida.

Argues Waldman of the Medicaid expansion decision, it “may look like free money, but we all know: a) there is no such thing; b) who willnot get the money – providers; and c) who will not get services – patients. Medicaid will follow the same path as Medicare. More and more money will go to the bureaucracy, while less and less will go to people who actually care for patients.”

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