Neighborhood and community groups are still in a state of shock over last week’s unscheduled vote by the State Fair Commission to approve a 25-year lease arrangement calling for construction of a new $20 million casino smack in the middle of Albuquerque. But it’s what Governor Susana Martinez wanted and so that’s that.
Somehow it seems that a slightly modified equation has simply produced an all-too-familiar result:
New Governor+Old Campaign Donor = Pay-to-Play 2.0
But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here! What’s really important is, “What does Sarah Kennedy have to say about all this, huh?” Watch and learn:
“A complete redesign of Medicaid has far-reaching implications and the legislature will have many questions, especially the members of the Health and Human Services Interim Committee which is charged with oversight of the NM Medicaid program.”
~ Sen. Dede Feldman, Chair of the Health and Human Services Interim Committee, in a letter to Sidonie Squier, Secretary of the NM Human Services Department.
While Congress is currently considering various budget proposals that would affect Medicaid spending across the country, New Mexico’s Human Services Department (HSD) is attempting to address the combination of “increased enrollment and decreased funding,” by redesigning the state’s Medicaid program.
In this latest round of “selective transparency in governing,” the people, once again, find themselves in the un-coveted position of “distant afterthought”; and as one might deduce from Sen. Feldman’s quote, the Medicaid overhaul process has – thus far – also failed to include involvement from the state’s legislative branch.
To quickly recap the HSD’s redesign time-line so far:
May 4 & 5: a few legislators (including Sen. Feldman) inquire about the HSD’s redesign plans (via statements and letters), after hearing about the department’s intent to overhaul NM’s Medicaid program (via media reports and other grapevine sources);
According to the HSD, the department also hopes to finalize its redesign plans by early fall, so that it can begin the actual overhaul process, during the subsequent 18-to-24 months. Continue reading →