ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - Governor Susana Martinez announced Wednesday she will expand Medicaid Health Insurance to 170,000 more New Mexicans.
It is part of President Obama's healthcare plan but it's been up to states to decide if they wanted to take part.
The governor could have said no like other republican governors in several states following a Supreme Court ruling. But, she says after meeting with health advocates, hospital leaders, lawmakers and many others, she found the expansion of Medicaid to the poor was needed.
"My job is to ensure we're taking responsible steps to provide an adequate level of basic healthcare services for those most in need in our state," Martinez said.
The expansion would give Medicaid Health Insurance to adults in New Mexico making less than $15,400 a year, starting in 2014.
A large group the governor says is driving up healthcare costs that the state has already been paying for.
"It's not they are not receiving healthcare now...most of them are unfortunately and it happens too often to be in the most inefficient and costly way possible...in our emergency rooms," Martinez said.
The feds would pay 100 percent of the expansion the first three years, gradually decreasing to 90 percent by 2020.
The governor says letting the feds step in and pay for the uninsured and will save the state money.
"If we were to expand Medicaid the federal government would pay a higher portion for these individuals healthcare and state would actually save money," Martinez said. "A net figure of around $16 million in the first year alone."
If the badly in-debt federal government ever takes back the promise and cuts funding for the Medicaid expansion, the governor can back out of the program.
"In that situation we end taking money from other health services or education.....and I won't stand for it," Martinez said.
In 2020, that 10 percent the state would have to cover would cost about $75 million a year.
There are already 560,000 New Mexicans receiving Medicaid coverage.
After this, 730,000 will be eligible.
The attorney for a state cop fired last week for shooting at a minivan full of kids tells News 13 her client deserves his job back.
An Albuquerque Police officer involved shooting over the weekend marks the fifth since late October and city officials are taking notice.
A woman was stolen from her daughter's car, a woman who died more than five years ago.
Albuquerque police shot and killed a man Sunday night after responding to an assault call near UNM.
Deputies were led on a chase around 4 p.m. Monday after a person called 911 to report their vehicle had been stolen and was being driven recklessly around Albuquerque.
New Mexico could have hundreds of millions of dollars more to spend as legislators get ready to put together next year's budget in the upcoming legislative session.