Medicaid spending burden drops in New Mexico

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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – New Mexico officials say Medicaid health care for the poor and disabled will be less costly than previously expected this fiscal year and next year, easing financial pressures amid a state budget crisis.

New Mexico Human Services Secretary Brent Earnest told lawmakers Friday that state cost overruns no longer are expected during the current fiscal year. He said state general fund spending on Medicaid is expected to increase by $42 million next year to $956 million – a smaller increase than previously expected.

Enrollment in the state’s managed care program for Medicaid continues to grow at an annual rate of about 8 percent, but per-patient costs have fallen slightly with less reliance on emergency rooms and hospitals and more care through appointments with physicians and nurses.

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