ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. —Today, U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) hosted a press conference in Albuquerque with local and statewide advocates to highlight the damaging impact Senate Republicans' health care legislation will have in New Mexico.
“The Senate health care bill will leave average New Mexico families paying thousands of dollars more for less health coverage,” said Senator Heinrich. “I urge President Trump and Republicans to listen to the millions of Americans who are saying loud and clear that it’s time to turn the page on this reckless path so we can finally get to work on actually fixing those things in the current health care system that need work. I will do everything I can to oppose this appalling legislation and fight to keep quality health care accessible and affordable for all New Mexicans.”
“The state of New Mexico has seen tremendous improvement in access to health care through the implementation of the ACA and a marked reduction in racial and ethnic inequalities in health coverage,” said Dr. Gabe Sanchez, Executive Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy. “If the ACA were to be repealed or see significant reductions in funding, this would be devastating to the state of New Mexico. We would see hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans lose health insurance in a short period of time and our Center estimates that we would see a loss in over 6,000 jobs by the year 2020. New Mexico simply cannot afford to lose these jobs at a very challenging time in our state's history.”
“The Affordable Care Act, including Medicaid expansion, has ensured access to one of the most vulnerable populations in our state, the rural population, which tends to be older, sicker, and poorer,” said Christina Campos, Administrator at Guadalupe County Hospital. “Guadalupe County Hospital alone saw uninsured patient rates drop from 14 percent down to under 4 percent since 2013. This expansion in coverage has helped stabilize our finances, and has helped us keep our doors open."
“New Mexico has had extraordinary success implementing the Affordable Care Act. We cut our uninsured rate in half. Hundreds of thousands of our neighbors and family members now have access to health care that they didn’t have before,” said Bill Jordan, Senior Policy Advisor at New Mexico Voices for Children. “Over 900,000 New Mexicans now rely on Medicaid for their health care. That is all at risk in this bill to repeal and replace.”
“I work for a rural federally funded medical center where 30 percent of funding will be cut if this bill passes,” said Josh Trujillo, Certified Peer Support Specialist at Pecos Valley Medical Center. “Without Medicaid, people will die. Emergency room visits will increase, overdoses will increase, and crime rates will increase.”
“The health care industry is an important component of New Mexico’s economy,” said Dr. Jerica Johnson, member of the Committee of Interns and Residents. “If the Senate bill passes, there will be devastating consequences for the health care workforce. It would most certainly impact New Mexico’s hospitals, and disproportionally effect rural hospitals.”
“Not only is the Affordable Care Act under threat, but Medicare is under threat too,” said Ron Schwartz, member of the Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare. “We should be expanding who should get health insurance benefits, not reducing those benefits. In our future, any reductions in insurance programs or attempts at privatizing Medicare will affect more generations than those targeted by the intended cuts.”
Video of the press conference is available on Senator Heinrich’s Facebook page.