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Press release
September 25, 2015

New Mexico Study: Working Individuals Make Up the Largest Group Who Benefit from Medicaid Expansion

Study Estimates that 56 Percent of those benefiting from New Mexico’s Medicaid Expansion are Working Adults in Key Economic Sectors

Washington, D.C.—More than 90,000 New Mexicans benefiting from the state’s decision to accept Medicaid expansion work in industries that are the foundation of the state’s economy, with jobs ranging from sales and food service to construction and health care, according to estimates in a study released today by Families USA.

This projected group of working New Mexicans represents an estimated 56 percent of the state’s residents who benefit from New Mexico’s Medicaid expansion, which went into effect last year.

“These statistics are an important part of the story about Medicaid in New Mexico,” said Barbara Webber, Executive Director of Health Action NM, a non-profit health consumer advocacy organization based in Albuquerque, NM. “We are thrilled that Centennial Care, including the very important Medicaid expansion for adults in our state, has contributed to the significant increase in health coverage for hard working families.

“This improved health access will certainly mean better health status for working families and increased productivity for the industries they represent,” Webber said. “This proves that Medicaid has been a win-win situation for New Mexico.”

Without Medicaid expansion, many of these people would have fallen through the cracks in the health care system – making too much for traditional Medicaid, but too little to qualify for subsidies on the insurance exchange, said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA.

“This study shows Medicaid expansion is a success story in New Mexico,” Pollack said. “The people it helps have tough jobs in industries that traditionally don’t provide health insurance. Now after a hard day’s work, they can sleep with the peace of mind that health insurance provides – knowing that a sudden accident or illness won’t wipe out their savings and dreams for the future.”

According to the study, following is the breakdown of occupations of those more than 90,000 New Mexicans who can benefit from Medicaid expansion:

  • 15,000 in food service, working as fast food workers, waiters and cooks.
  • 14,000 in construction jobs, including carpenters, painters and laborers.
  • 12,000 in sales, working as retail salespeople, cashiers and clerks.
  • 10,000 in cleaning and maintenance, including janitors and landscapers and housekeepers.
  • 8,000 in office and administrative support, including bookkeepers, receptionists and stock clerks.
  • 6,000 in personal care, including barbers, child care workers, hairdressers and personal care aides.
  • 6,000 in transportation as truck drivers, freight laborers and bus drivers.
  • 5,000 in production, including team assemblers, machinists and welders.
  • 3,000 in health care support, including nursing assistants, orderlies and home health aides.
  • An additional 16,000 work in a variety of other jobs.

“Governor Martinez should be congratulated for her initial decision to expand Medicaid,” Pollack said. “The numbers contained in this study show how important this program is for so many of the working people of her state.”

Under Medicaid expansion, which went into effect in 2014, states can offer Medicaid coverage to residents with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $27,720 for a family of three. For the first three years, the federal government pays 100 percent of the costs. Starting in 2017, states will begin paying a small portion of the costs, which will be capped at 10 percent in 2020.

This report is based on 2010 to 2012 Census data. View a more detailed explanation of the methodology used to create this report.