Commentary: While the Affordable Care Act and the expansion of Medicaid in our state has brought many successes, COVID-19 has exposed major holes in our health care system and social safety net. Bold action is needed to ensure that New Mexicans have the resources they need. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) was a critical first step in this effort.
However, additional steps will be necessary. The State of New Mexico, local clinics, and the New Mexicans who are weathering this crisis need more resources to ensure an adequate response. To that end, Health Action New Mexico has developed a series of health-related recommendations to help individuals and families access care and feel more financially secure, bolster the state’s capacity to respond, and assist clinics who help vulnerable populations. While this is by no means a comprehensive list of the steps necessary to address this crisis, it represents a critically-needed response to health coverage and access issues facing New Mexico and the United States.
Health Action NM recommends that Congress:
- Create Universal Coronavirus Crisis Health Insurance Program;
- Further enhance the Medicaid Federal Matching Assistance Percentage (FMAP);
- Restore the 100% FMAP for Medicaid expansion;
- Provide additional health care resources to IHS and tribal public health programs;
- Provide an infusion of resources to private non-profit clinics, Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), and FQHC look alikes;
- Ensure resources are not diverted from rural providers;
- Create a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) on the federal Health Insurance Marketplace and waive Marketplace premiums for certain populations;
- Give states the authority to work directly with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other countries to secure COVID-19 testing kits;
- Bolster production of personal protective equipment for all who need it and combat price gouging for basic medical and sanitary supplies;
- Immediately reverse the public charge rule; and
- Forgive medical debt for those diagnosed with COVID-19.
We need bold, decisive action as soon as possible to ensure that all people can access the services they need. For a detailed overview of these recommendations, please see Health Action NM’s blog post.