Udall, Heinrich, Luján, Lujan Grisham Urge Gov. Martinez to Oppose GOP Health Care Plan

Say Medicaid Cuts in Trumpcare Would Decimate Health Care in NM

WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D -N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D -N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján (D -N.M.) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D -N.M.) urged Governor Susana Martinez to oppose President Trump and Republicans’ plan to cancel health care for 24 million Americans by 2026 and dismantle Medicaid.

In a letter to the governor, the lawmakers wrote, "Governors in other states that have expanded Medicaid have recognized the negative impact such a proposal would have on their constituents, and have been outspoken in their opposition. The time for you to join them to express your concerns about how this bill will hurt New Mexico is now. We ask that you help us stop this bill so that we can start our work in earnest and on a bipartisan basis to improve healthcare in New Mexico, not decimate it.”

As a result of Medicaid expansion, 263,000 New Mexicans have access to health coverage. Enrollment in Medicaid among previously eligible individuals has also increased since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, bringing total enrollment to more than 900,000 - almost half of the state’s population. The Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid provisions have helped cut New Mexico’s uninsured rate to a historic low of 8.9 percent. But Trumpcare would repeal the Medicaid expansion and impose massive cuts on the program, causing hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans to lose their health insurance.

The full text of the letter is available below and here:

Dear Governor Martinez:

As Republicans in Congress move to repeal the Affordable Care Act, we write to express our concern about the impact of their plan on our state and implore you to protect New Mexicans by fighting against this destructive proposal. 

As you know, the Affordable Care Act gave states the option to expand Medicaid coverage to individuals with incomes of up to 138% of the federal poverty line and provided significant federal funding to finance such an expansion. As a result of Medicaid expansion in New Mexico, an additional 263,000 New Mexicans have access to health coverage. Enrollment among previously eligible individuals has also increased over the last few years, bringing total enrollment to more than 900,000- almost half of our state’s population. This has helped cut our uninsured rate to a historic low of 8.9%.

The Medicaid program is also an economic engine for New Mexico. The federal government provides $4.6 billion per year in federal matching funds for the program, $1.5 billion of which is associated with the Medicaid expansion. Given that the total state budget is about $6.1 billion, this is a massive investment in New Mexicans. This infusion of federal funds supports our health care infrastructure, reducing uncompensated care and keeping rural hospitals afloat. It also supports more than 50,000 jobs in the state. As a result, the health care sector has been a rare bright spot in our economy, adding 6,100 jobs in the past year in a state with the highest unemployment rate in the nation. Moody’s has indicated that this bill will prove to be a credit negative to states and a huge financial burden that will force states to make difficult decisions about how to finance their Medicaid programs.

Republicans in Congress have introduced the American Health Care Act, which would repeal the Medicaid expansion and institute per capita caps or block grants to limit federal funds for other Medicaid enrollees, totaling $880 billion in Medicaid cuts over the next ten years. Recent estimates indicate that New Mexico stands to lose more than $11 billion in federal funds over that same period. This proposal will ask states to do less with less, inevitably leading to coverage losses and reduced benefits for Medicaid beneficiaries. In fact, the Center for American Progress conservatively estimates that 108,000 New Mexicans would lose Medicaid coverage if the American Health Care Act is signed into law. We understand that you have been supportive of efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but this bill also makes significant changes to the Medicaid program by limiting federal funding in the form of per capita caps for the entire program that have nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act.

Governors in other states that have expanded Medicaid have recognized the negative impact such a proposal would have on their constituents, and have been outspoken in their opposition. The time for you to join them to express your concerns about how this bill will hurt New Mexico is now.  We ask that you help us stop this bill so that we can start our work in earnest and on a bipartisan basis to improve healthcare in New Mexico, not decimate it. 

New Mexicans have benefited significantly from the Affordable Care Act, and are looking to you to speak up about the impacts of this bill on the state and what it will mean for their families and communities. Our economy and the lives of New Mexicans are at stake. We look forward to your reply.

Sincerely,