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NM Senate OKs financial aid to rural hospitals

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ruralSANTA FE – The Senate has approved a measure to require counties to contribute $26 million a year to a program helping more than two dozen mostly rural hospitals cover health care for poor New Mexicans.

The measure passed the Senate late Sunday on a 38-4 vote after a lengthy debate over how much counties should provide to match available federal money. The proposal is expected to generate nearly $150 million for indigent health care and increased reimbursements for providers.

The legislation allows counties to increase their gross receipts taxes by one-twelfth of a percent to cover what must be contributed to the state.

Some lawmakers said counties should provide about $36 million to help generate a larger amount of federal matching money for health care.

The bill heads to the House.

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