On a crisp sunny day, Tyson Toledo, a precocious 5-year-old boy, hobbled into a private health clinic to have his infected foot examined.
Pediatrician Gayle Harrison told his mother to continue to apply antibiotic ointment and reminded them to come back if the swelling and redness worsened.
The appointment at Rehoboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services’ outpatient center comes at no charge for the Toledo family, who live 30 miles away on the Navajo Nation Reservation. That’s because Tyson is covered by Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for the poor.
New Mexico leads all other states in Medicaid enrollment, with 43 percent of its residents on the program. That’s partly because the state has a large Native American population, living in communities historically riven with poverty. The numbers offer an eye-popping snapshot of the promotion of Medicaid expansion since 2013: Nearly a third of the 900,000 New Mexico beneficiaries joined as part of the Affordable Care Act’s option to expand Medicaid.