May 23, 2017

Udall, Heinrich Say TrumpCare Will Hurt Rural America

TrumpCare would raise health care costs and have devastating impacts on rural America

2.9 million rural Americans could lose health care by 2020

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall outlined the harmful impact TrumpCare will have in rural America where communities have long faced challenges with access to affordable health care insurance and services. The senators were joined by New Mexico Radiologist Dr. Robert Rosenberg and National Association of Rural Health Clinics President John Gill, along with U.S. Senators Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Bob Casey (D-Pa.).

Senator Heinrich, Ranking Member of the Joint Economic Committee, announced the findings of a report released today on just how much is at stake for rural America. The report by Joint Economic Committee Democrats, "TrumpCare: Leaving Rural Health Behind," highlights that the Republican bill that passed the House with President Trump’s support could put coverage at risk for the 20 million rural Americans who have a pre-existing condition. The report also details other ways TrumpCare would devastate rural communities, including increasing the number of uninsured, stripping $839 billion from Medicaid, threatening rural hospital closures, and destabilizing individual marketplaces.

"If the President and House Republicans' disastrous TrumpCare bill becomes law, many Americans living in rural communities would lose access to health coverage that has helped their families-and in some cases even saved their lives," said Heinrich. "Wreaking this type of chaos and denying whole communities in New Mexico accessible health care is completely immoral and totally unacceptable. TrumpCare is nothing more than a tax cut for the ultra-rich that would leave millions of Americans in rural communities to suffer, and without access to the care they need."

"TrumpCare would be a disaster for families and the economy in New Mexico, and it would be hardest on rural communities. I've heard from rural hospital administrators from across New Mexico, like Christina Campos in Guadalupe County, who fear that TrumpCare's Medicaid provisions would dramatically increase the uninsured rate putting tremendous financial pressure back on the hospital," Udall said. "By rolling back the Medicaid expansion, TrumpCare would leave thousands of people without health insurance. And shuttered hospitals would mean many New Mexicans would have to drive an hour or more to get critical care. It would devastate our rural communities, hurt jobs, and it's unconscionable. I'm fighting to keep residents in our rural areas insured and to keep rural hospitals in New Mexico open."

"It is obvious that cutting coverage like Medicaid will seriously hurt health care access to many rural residents in New Mexico and undermine the viability of rural hospitals," said Dr. Robert Rosenberg. "I think these communities need more help, not less."

Senator Heinrich recently met with patients at the Ben Archer Health Center, a rural health clinic in Hatch, and heard firsthand how important Medicaid coverage has been for women and families in southern New Mexico. Last fall, Senator Heinrich visited hospitals in Guadalupe, Union, Harding, and Colfax Counties as part of a multi-day rural health care listening tour in northeastern New Mexico. Heinrich met with medical professionals, toured local facilities, and discussed ways to strengthen access and delivery of care and the challenges of providing health care to rural communities in New Mexico.