Medicaid spending crunch raises tensions in New Mexico

SANTA FE (AP) – Health care workers are raising concerns about closed-door meetings as New Mexico forges a plan to rein in spending on Medicaid by some $400 million under a new state budget.

An advisory group is scheduled to deliver its first recommendations Friday on reducing Medicaid reimbursement rates for medical procedures to health care providers.

Union representatives say they were shut out of a meeting of the advisory group this week, as tensions rise over cost containment measures needed by July.

The state has underfunded Medicaid by $85 million between now and mid-2017, and will forgo more than $300 million in federal matching funds as a result. The Human Service Department that oversees the state Medicaid program says recommendations by stakeholders will be made public – though meetings were kept closed.

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