Medicaid Buy-in Option Legislation Passes Key Senate & House Committees

Jan 29, 2018

Commentary: Key Senate and House committees on Monday passed memorials to study offering a Medicaid Buy-In program in New Mexico after Strong Families New Mexico advocates shared with the committees powerful, personal health care stories that underscored the positive impact a buy-in program could have on health care access for New Mexico families.

“I do not question whether I have a cure for my disease or not,” said Lan Sena, an Albuquerque woman who has been battling Stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma for almost five years, “but rather whether or not I can afford it.”

Sena, whose medical team has successfully advocated for cost reductions in her treatment in the past, says that a Medicaid Buy-In option would help provide coverage for people like her who have insurance, but are under-insured.

The buy-in--a concept that is gaining momentum nationally with similar bills introduced in Congress and in legislatures in Massachusetts, Illinois, and Iowa-- opens up Medicaid to allow more consumers to buy low-cost coverage through a Medicaid plan. This provides people with affordable health care and creates more choices in the insurance market. It further provides additional funding to shore up Medicaid.

“We are all equal in deserving health care,” Alfonso Yazzie, healthcare leader from Twin Lakes told the committees.

Currently, more than 180,000 New Mexicans don’t have healthcare coverage and countless more are under-insured and would not be able, financially, to handle a serious medical diagnosis.

The Senate Rules Committee passed Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino’s SM 3 and the House Health and Human Services Committee passed Rep. Debbie Armstrong’s HM 9. SM 3 will now go to the Senate Public Affairs Committee for consideration and HM 9 will move to the House floor.


Strong Families New Mexico (SFNM) is a program of Forward Together. SFNM brings together organizations and activists statewide to build strong communities and create policies that work for our families.