When the New Mexico Department of Health announced sweeping cuts to the state’s Developmental Disability Waiver, an optional Medicaid program, Fritzi Hardy was surprised.
The cuts shave 5 percent off care provider reimbursements and 8 percent from patient budgets.
Hardy, who uses the program to provide in-home care for her disabled daughter, has attended meetings on proposed changes to the system for a year. Smaller cuts were previously on the table, but “8 percent is pushing the limit,” she says. “That is horrendously high.”
It’s still better than singling out particular types of care, she notes—a plan that DOH floated earlier this year—but DOH has said the cuts won’t alleviate the program’s lengthy waiting list. And Hardy says they run counter to political promises from both sides to leave Medicaid spending intact.
To Hardy, there’s just one reason for hope.
“It could be [outgoing Gov. Bill] Richardson’s way to shaft [Gov.-elect Susana] Martinez” by enraging the vocal disability advocacy community, Hardy says. “And it could end Jan. 1. She could walk in the door and say, ‘Stop this. Now.’”