What We're Reading: NM Medicaid Buy-In; Mental Health Care for Vets; Medical Marijuana in Utah

February 1, 2018

Democrats push for a Medicaid buy-in option in New Mexico; half of the veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan aren't receiving the mental health care they need; Utah moves forward with 2 bills related to medical marijuana.

Effort in New Mexico Pushes for Medicaid Buy-In

Democrats in New Mexico are pushing to allow almost anyone to buy into Medicaid through a fee to individuals and possibly employers. According to AP, the initiative would redirect federal subsidies for Affordable Care Act health plans to a new category of Medicaid. It is unclear at this point what impact the buy-in program will have on health outcomes or costs, but public health officials at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center believe exploring the option is worthwhile.

Half of Recent Veterans Aren’t Getting Mental Health Care

The mental health care delivered throughout the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is inconsistent, and about half of the veterans from the wars after 9/11 are not getting the care they need. A lack of staff in clinics and hospitals and excessive bureaucracy are preventing these veterans from getting care for posttraumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, depression, and other mental health issues, reported Bloomberg. More than 4 million service members have left duty since the beginning of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Utah Moves Forward With Medical Marijuana Bills

Two bills related to medical marijuana are moving forward in the Utah legislature. Deseret News reported that one bill supports in-state research of medical marijuana, while the other promotes access to it for terminally ill patients. The Utah Medical Association provided its support to the research bill only, which would allow the state’s Department of Agriculture to oversee the growth of marijuana for research purposes.