Thirteen years ago today, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law. I will always be proud that one of the first votes I ever took in Congress—and still one of the most meaningful—was to pass the ACA.
Since then, I have heard from thousands of New Mexicans about how the ACA has helped them cover critical care for their children and loved ones, helped them afford treatment for diseases like diabetes and cancer, and opened up access to everything from maternity care to lifesaving addiction treatment. This law has absolutely changed people’s lives for the better.
The ACA has meant that millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions have been able to access the care they need without fear of being dropped from their plan, and hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans have both better health coverage and financial security. No one should have to choose between putting food on the table and paying for a prescription or going to a doctor's appointment.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, our country’s uninsured rate is at an all-time low. More than 21 million Americans have gained health coverage through the Medicaid expansion—including around 300,000 New Mexicans. More than 91 million Americans now receive critical health coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). A record-breaking 16.3 million Americans are enrolled in private health insurance plans through the ACA marketplace.
Last year, President Biden and Democrats in Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act, which expanded protections for affordable health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act, lowered the costs of premiums even further, and tackled the high costs of prescription drugs. The Inflation Reduction Act empowers Medicare Part D to negotiate directly with drug companies to lower prices for seniors. The law also made recommended vaccines like the shingles vaccine free under Medicare.
We also put a cap on the cost of insulin for Medicare beneficiaries at $35 a month. New Mexico has long had a $25 cap on insulin costs for private insurance. But under the Inflation Reduction Act, Medicare beneficiaries will finally see this same type of savings. And in recent months, numerous manufacturers have followed the lead of the new law by lowering the cost of this diabetes medication.
You can learn more about the Affordable Care Act by visiting the Health Care Resources page on my website. The Constituent Service Representatives in my office can also help New Mexicans navigate difficulties with Medicare, Social Security, Immigration issues, Veterans benefits, passport issues, and other federal programs. Whether you or a family member is having trouble with a federal agency, please don’t hesitate to contact my office by calling (505) 346-6601 or by visiting the Helping You section on my website.
I continue to be committed to building on the progress we have made through the Affordable Care Act. There is still so much we can do to improve health care delivery—particularly in our rural and Tribal communities—to address our health care workforce shortages, lower health care costs, and make sure every single New Mexican can access the care they need.