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NM Group Slams Obamacare Replacement Bill Ahead of Senate Debate

About 300,000 children in New Mexico rely on Medicaid for their health care. (NM Voices for Children)
About 300,000 children in New Mexico rely on Medicaid for their health care. (NM Voices for Children)


July 7, 2017

ALBUQUERQUE, N. M. – Senate GOP leaders won't return to Washington, D. C., until Monday to renew debate on the replacement for Obamacare. That hasn't stopped opponents of the proposed bill from protesting, in New Mexico and cities across the country, this week.

In Albuquerque on Thursday, Bill Jordan with New Mexico Voices for Children – the group's senior policy advisor and government relations officer – joined Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., at an outdoor news conference at the University of New Mexico.

According to Jordan, 300,000 New Mexico children now rely on Medicaid for health care because the state has been very successful in implementing Obamacare.

"We've done better than almost any state," Jordan told the crowd, "and this bill would hurt us more than almost any other state."

New Mexico is one of eight states with a "trigger" law to automatically undo the Obamacare Medicaid expansion if there's any reduction in federal financial support. In order to shoulder a larger share of health-care costs for low-income residents, Jordan said the state would need to implement substantial tax increases or slash other essential state services.

He pointed out that New Mexico's Medicaid services have already been trimmed due to the state's 2017 budget woes. So, while other, wealthier states might be able to pick up some Medicaid costs to offset the loss of federal dollars, New Mexico isn't one of them.

As he put it, "These are kids whose families have no other option for health care. There is nothing else. There is no other payer source."

Jordan added that more than 70 percent of births reported in the state are paid for by Medicaid.

The Congressional Budget Office has estimated nationwide, 22 million more Americans would be without insurance in 10 years if the Senate bill is passed in its current form.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - NM