KUNM

Public Health New Mexico

KUNM's Public Health New Mexico reporting project provides in-depth, investigative and continuous coverage of public health in New Mexico, with an emphasis on poverty. For all articles and web exclusive content, go to publichealthnm.org 

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Health advocates in New Mexico are urging lawmakers to improve Medicaid and the insurance markets now that Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act have failed. 

LISTEN: Cutting Medicaid To Fix The State Budget

Jul 25, 2017
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KUNM Call In Show 7/27 8a: As New Mexico grapples with a budget crisis, the state is considering whether to save money by making changes to Medicaid—things like charging copays for prescriptions and doctor visits and eliminating dental care for Medicaid recipients. 

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New Mexico has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the nation, and now that the Trump Administration has slashed funding for teen pregnancy prevention projects, researchers here say it’s like the rug has been pulled out from under them.

Medicaid Copay Plan Met With Strong Opposition

Jul 18, 2017
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New Mexico is considering a plan to charge Medicaid patients copays as a way to save the state money. The proposal is drawing strong criticism from health care groups, poverty advocates and Medicaid recipients.

HSD Considering Medicaid Copays

Jul 14, 2017
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New Mexico allotted $940 million to pay for its share of Medicaid costs this year, but that’s still not enough to keep up with the growing number of people signing up for the program. The state Human Services Department is considering charging copays to people on Medicaid as part of a plan to cut costs.

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Poverty advocates say the Republicans’ new plan to repeal and replace Obamacare would leave many low-income people in New Mexico without coverage.

Sarah Trujillo via KUNM

An Iraqi man chose to seek refuge in a church in Albuquerque today rather than report for deportation.

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The South Valley near Albuquerque is seeing an agricultural renaissance of sorts. First Choice Community Healthcare just broke ground today on a community farm there. Advocates are fixing their attention on local food as a form of preventative health care.

AG Sues Feds Over Methane Rule Delay

Jul 6, 2017
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Attorneys General in New Mexico and California are suing the federal government over its delay of Obama-era air pollution rules. 

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What if you’re racing to the hospital, but it’s an hour away – or more? Pregnant women living in northern New Mexico have to cross over sixty miles to deliver their babies with a doctor or midwife. But in this state, half the battle is getting physicians to work in rural areas.

Senate Health Bill Could Impact Older New Mexicans

Jun 28, 2017
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This week the Congressional Budget Office released its report on the Senate bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. It found a number of impacts for older Americans. Those changes could be felt particularly hard in New Mexico.

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The Senate released a revised GOP health care bill on Thursday, June 22, with major cuts to Medicaid, reproductive health, and mental health programs widely used by people in New Mexico. Advocates are saying the changes could have long-lasting negative impacts.

Sarah Trujillo / KUNM

More than three years after the health care expansion, 43 percent of New Mexico’s total population is signed up for Medicaid. But budgets are tight, and the Human Services Department is trying to figure out how to make it all work. Some of the  proposals presented at a public meeting in Albuquerque were contentious.

Heinrich On Medicaid And ACA Overhaul

Jun 14, 2017
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More than 50,000 people in the U.S. died because of an opioid overdose last year, which is an all-time high.

The opioid epidemic was the subject of Congress’s Joint Economic Committee hearing last week. New Mexico Senator Martin Heinrich, a Democrat, is the ranking member of that committee. He spoke with KUNM about the hearing and the prospects for behavioral health in the Republican health care replacement bill. 

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The New Mexico Human Services Department released its plan for the fate of Medicaid, and it includes massive cuts that could sever coverage for thousands.

Major Education Lawsuit Heads To Trial

Jun 12, 2017

Two civil rights groups are taking New Mexico’s public education system to court. They say the state doesn’t fund education well enough, doesn’t provide the right programming and is violating some students’ rights.

The trial started Monday in Santa Fe. 

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The Environmental Protection Agency and the Trump Administration are facing a lawsuit after they suspended a rule to curb oil and gas industry methane emissions for 90 days.

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As Republicans work to fulfill their promises to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, the future of healthcare in the U.S. is up in the air. In New Mexico, health insurance carriers have to submit their proposed premium rates by this weekend. After state officials review them, the public will have 10 days to weigh in.

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The state spent almost half its 2015 child behavioral health dollars on expensive outpatient programs that have not been shown to be effective, according to a report presented to lawmakers Wednesday.

State Moves Ahead With Toxic Plume Cleanup

Jun 5, 2017
Ed Williams

Over two decades ago, toxic dry cleaning chemicals seeped into the groundwater from a chemical distribution company’s warehouse near downtown Albuquerque. Today the plume spreads from Laun-Dry Supply Company about a mile and a half eastward towards I-25.

After a long investigation, the New Mexico Environment Department is poised to move forward with a full-scale cleanup of the chemical plume.

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The Higher Education Department announced this week that the share of tuition covered by the lottery scholarship will drop from 90 percent to 60 percent. But student leaders say the scholarship is vital for students who rely on it. 

Rashad Mahmood, KUNM

New Mexico environment officials say they’ll present a plan to clean up a toxic underground plume at a public meeting Thursday evening in Albuquerque.

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LISTEN: May is Mental Health Awareness Month. In 2014 voters in Bernalillo County voted in favor of a tax for increased mental health services. This came after the shooting by police of James Boyd, a homeless man who had schizophrenia, as well as other shootings by police of people who struggled with mental illness. The tax went into effect in 2015 and is providing up to $20 million annually for new programs through the Bernalillo County Behavioral Health Initiative.

Ed Williams

A drug that can reverse a heroin overdose is set to become more widely available in New Mexico. It’s the latest attempt to fight the opioid epidemic here—but even as naloxone becomes more available, other addiction and treatment services are struggling.

What Does Repeal And Replace Mean For N.M.?

May 10, 2017
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KUNM Call In Show 5/11 8a: Call 1-877-899-5866. With Republican plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act moving through congress, the future of healthcare in New Mexico is facing a lot of uncertainty. We’ll look at what changing the healthcare law could mean for New Mexicans, and for our state’s Medicaid system and insurance markets.

GOP Healthcare Bill Raises Questions, Concerns

May 4, 2017
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Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act passed a major hurdle Thursday after the House of Representatives voted for a new health law, the American Healthcare Act. KUNM’s Chris Boros spoke with Ed Williams of the Public Health New Mexico project about reactions in New Mexico.

Ed Williams/KUNM

Stroke is one of the most common medical emergencies. The effects of a stroke last a lifetime, and treating the condition can be extremely expensive. But if doctors can diagnose and treat a stroke quickly, they can reduce the damage a patient suffers. 

Ed Williams

New Mexico will receive $4.8 million in federal dollars for opioid treatment and prevention this year. The money comes from the 21st Century Cures Act, a bill signed by President Obama in December that gives states new funding to fight the opioid epidemic. 

ABQ Upholds Gas Plant’s Permit

Apr 13, 2017
Ed Williams

Honstein Oil Company’s gasoline distribution plant is located in the middle of a low-income Albuquerque neighborhood, and just a few blocks from an elementary school. Environmental justice groups have been asking the city to revoke the plant’s permit for years. The city dismissed the group’s appeal Wednesday. 

Governor Vetoes Home Visiting Bill

Apr 11, 2017
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One of the bills that Governor Susana Martinez vetoed last week would have set up a Medicaid-funded home visiting program for new parents. The move has disappointed some doctors and child advocates.

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