Udall, Heinrich Amendment Would Protect New Mexicans Receiving Health Insurance Through Medicaid Expansion

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced they are offering an amendment to protect the tens of thousands of New Mexicans and 11 million Americans who receive health insurance through the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

They joined Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and other senators from states that expanded Medicaid for their residents under the ACA in offering the amendment, which will be voted on as part of the so-called "vote-a-rama" tonight as the Senate debates budget measures as part of the effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The amendment would prevent the Senate from advancing any legislation that increases the overall number of uninsured, decreases enrollment in Medicaid in expansion states, or leads to any increase in state spending on Medicaid.  

"Thanks to the Medicaid expansion that took place under the Affordable Care Act, an additional 82,000 New Mexicans are receiving health insurance — many for the first time ever," Udall said. "The Medicaid expansion has made it possible for many New Mexicans to afford to see a doctor and pay for the medication and treatment they need to keep their families healthy. This amendment will protect the Medicaid expansion and ensure that these families do not lose health coverage if the President-elect and Washington Republicans succeed in their reckless efforts to repeal the ACA without any plan for replacing it."

“The expansion of Medicaid, as a result of the Affordable Care Act, has made a tremendous impact in New Mexico. The over 300,000 New Mexicans who have enrolled in Medicaid since 2013 stand to lose coverage if Republicans go forward with their 'Repeal and Run' maneuver," Heinrich said. "I continue to hear from New Mexicans about how access to health care coverage has helped their families and even saved their lives. A reckless repeal would quickly throw our state’s health care system into chaos -- that is why I am proud to offer this amendment and will continue to stand up for New Mexicans who depend on this lifesaving coverage.”

States that have expanded Medicaid stand to see 11 million people lose their coverage if President-elect Trump and congressional Republicans have their way. In New Mexico, 360,000 people have gained insurance since the ACA was passed in 2010, through Medicaid and the health exchange. And the state’s uninsured rate dropped 44 percent as a result of the ACA. Repealing the ACA's Medicaid expansion would result in some 82,000 people losing their coverage. The financial impact to New Mexico would be over $2 billion a year in lost federal funding by 2019. 

In addition to Udall, Heinrich and Menendez, the amendment is cosponsored by Senators Tom Carper (D-Del.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).  

Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia have expanded Medicaid through ACA.