October 22, 2020

AUDIO: Udall Holds Roundtable with New Mexicans who Rely on ACA, Condemns Republican Push for SCOTUS Nominee Who Could Destroy Law During Pandemic

President Trump in 60 Minutes Interview on Supreme Court possibly terminating ACA: “It’ll be so good if they end it.”

As Senate Republicans rush to jam a conservative judge onto the Supreme Court and overturn the ACA, Udall hears from New Mexicans who rely on the ACA for Medicaid expansion and pre-existing conditions protections

AUDIO: Udall Hears from New Mexicans who Rely on the ACA

WASHINGTON—Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) held a listening session with New Mexicans who rely on the health insurance marketplace and Medicaid expansion coverage provided by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Udall stressed the disastrous consequences that Republican efforts to destroy the ACA in the Supreme Court will have for nearly 840,000 New Mexicans with pre-existing health conditions, in addition to a loss of $1.8 billion in federal funding for New Mexico needed for economic growth. The conversation came after President Trump reportedly said in an interview with CBS 60 Minutes, in reference to the Supreme Court’s forthcoming decision on the ACA, that “it’ll be so good if they end it.”

During the call, Udall heard from New Mexicans who rely on the ACA for pre-existing conditions, chronic disease, and prescription drug coverage. Udall also listened to a story from Christina Campos, Guadalupe County hospital administrator about the urgency to protect rural hospitals in New Mexico that are reliant on Medicaid, rural healthcare workforce initiative funding and rural hospital payments expanded by the ACA. Udall also heard from Dr. Val Wangler, a physician serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, about the nearly 840,00 New Mexicans with pre-existing conditions who will be affected by a repeal of the law. 

“All across New Mexico, thousands of hard-working people owe their health – and in some cases, their lives – to the Affordable Care Act,” Udall began. “Striking down this law will only deepen the public health and economic crises brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic – a pandemic that’s killed nearly 1,000 New Mexicans and over 221,200 Americans. It would be devastating for New Mexicans… A Republican victory against the ACA at the Supreme Court would mean that many New Mexicans who have lost their jobs would remain uninsured during a global pandemic.

“For rural residents, those with pre-existing conditions and for so many others that depend on the protections and coverage offered by the ACA, their health is at stake in this upcoming Supreme Court case.  After failing to repeal the ACA in Congress, now the Republicans are trying to destroy it in the courts,” Udall concluded. “And they have no plans for how to replace what they want to destroy. Make no mistake: Donald Trump and the Republicans have no replacement plan.”

Udall heard from five New Mexicans who shared their stories about how the Affordable Care Act has helped them access affordable health care. Find their stories here.

Udall’s remarks are below:

0:17 Good afternoon. Thank you to everyone joining us today.

0:22 In early November, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a Republican-led lawsuit to destroy the Affordable Care Act, including critical protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

0:36 All across New Mexico, thousands of hard-working people owe their health – and in some cases, their lives – to the Affordable Care Act.

0:44 Striking down this law will only deepen the public health and economic crises brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic – a pandemic that’s killed nearly 1,000 New Mexicans and over 210,000 Americans.

1:03 It would be devastating for New Mexicans.

1:07 The estimated 834,700 New Mexicans with pre-existing conditions would face higher costs, fewer benefits, and could have trouble finding coverage. 

1:19 Overturning the ACA would immediately end coverage for millions of Americans who became eligible for Medicaid through the Medicaid expansion.  

1:30 This means that over 280,000 in New Mexico will be thrown off of their health insurance - making it harder for them to access health care during a pandemic. 

1:43 New Mexico would lose $1.8 billion in federal funding – forcing us to make cuts to the state budget and essential services to make up the difference.

1:54 The recession created by the COVID-19 pandemic has also caused thousands of New Mexicans to lose their jobs—and consequently their employer-based insurance coverage. 

2:06 Many of these individuals are relying on the marketplace and Medicaid expansion to keep their families covered. 

2:15 A Republican victory against the ACA at the Supreme Court would mean many New Mexicans who have lost their jobs would remain uninsured during a global pandemic.

2:28 Rural communities, working families, and people with medical conditions would be hit the hardest.

2:34 Rural areas – like we have in New Mexico -- have more elderly and disabled people, and fewer people have insurance through their jobs. 

2:42 Rural hospitals are already struggling. They will have an even harder time keeping their doors open.

2:50 For rural residents, those with pre-existing conditions and for so many others that depend on the protections and coverage offered by the ACA, their health is at stake in this upcoming Supreme Court case.  

3:06 After failing to repeal the ACA in Congress, now the Republicans are trying to destroy it in the courts. 

3:14 And they have no plans for how to replace what they want to destroy. Make no mistake: Donald Trump and the Republicans have no replacement plan. 

3:25 That is flat out unacceptable. If they succeed, it will have disastrous consequences for the health of our country and for so many New Mexicans, including the individuals we will hear from today.  

3:38 Today, we’ll hear from Arianna Parsons of Las Cruces, Jeanne Hamrick of Albuquerque and Lisa Trujillo of Chimayo who have all depended on the ACA to provide health coverage for themselves, their families and their employees.

3:56 We will hear from Dr. Val Wangler, who works with Rehoboth McKinley Health Care Services and has been working on the front lines of the COVID 19 pandemic in Gallup and Zuni. 

4:10 And we will hear from Christina Campos, Administrator for the Guadalupe County Hospital in Santa Rosa, a rural hospital that depends on the Medicaid funding made available by the ACA that helps keep their doors open.

4:48 Jeanne Hamrick shares her story. 

8:47  Arianna Parsons shares her experience as a small business owner benefitting from the ACA.

12:24 Christina Campos speaks about the challenges of affordable health care in rural New Mexico.

16:15 Dr. Val Wangler shares her experience as a frontline COVID-19 physician.

21:06 Lisa Trujillo, a self-employed weaver, shares her story about her family’s search for health insurance.

26:58 Udall takes questions