January 12, 2017

Udall Votes Against Repealing Affordable Care Act

Udall: Repeal would cost NM $2.2 billion a year, could throw state's economy into recession

WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall released the following statement after voting against final passage of S. Con. Res. 3, a Republican budget resolution that begins the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). By a narrow margin of 51-48 early Thursday morning, and despite a protest by Senate Democrats, including Udall, Republicans pushed through their measure to cancel health care for tens of thousands of New Mexicans and millions of Americans - without any plan to replace the law. The ACA repeal budget resolution is expected to be considered in the House as early as tomorrow. In the coming weeks, Republican-led committees will then be able to report out budget legislation, using an expedited "reconciliation" procedure that limits debate and cuts out minority views.

In a speech on the Senate floor earlier this week, Udall shared the stories of several New Mexicans who rely on the ACA for life-saving care. Watch HERE.

"President-elect Trump and Washington Republicans are pushing forward, full speed ahead, with their disastrous effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and strip away health care from hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans and millions of Americans. And even worse, after years of promising to 'repeal and replace' the ACA, what they're doing now is more like 'repeal and chaos' because they still have no plan for replacing the ACA. They don't have any plan for people like Kevin from Albuquerque, who told me that his daughter Amber's life depends on the ACA, because it prevents insurance companies from canceling your coverage due to a preexisting condition. They don't have a plan for Pam from Placitas and her husband, Mike, who discovered an aggressive kind of cancer early because of his ACA insurance policy. Pam says there's no question the ACA saved Mike's life. And Republicans don't have a plan to replace the 19,000 jobs and $2.2 billion that repealing the ACA would cost New Mexico each year by 2019. Losing $2 billion a year would be a huge hit that could send our state's economy into recession.

"Since Congress passed the ACA in 2010, the percentage of people in New Mexico without insurance has dropped by 44 percent. And 360,000 New Mexicans have gained health care. The ACA has also been a lifeline to New Mexico's economy. Seven of the top 10 fastest-growing job categories in our state are in the health care field. I have said many times that we need to keep working to improve the ACA. The agonizing reality is that Trump and Republicans are working to repeal even the most significant provisions that Americans value and say they want to keep. Americans don't want to go back to the days when insurance companies could cancel your policy if you got a catastrophic illness or deny you coverage for a pre-existing condition. That's why numerous Republicans are now expressing concern that their leaders are rushing recklessly toward repeal. Rather than canceling policies for millions of people and throwing the health care system into chaos, I urge President-elect Trump and congressional Republicans to work with us constructively to improve the law."

In addition to voting against Republicans' reckless budget resolution, Udall voted for a number of Democratic-authored amendments to save key aspects of the Affordable Care Act and to safeguard the health care of New Mexicans and Americans. During the so-called "vote-a-rama" in the Senate that went until late into the night, Udall offered an amendment to protect health care for Indian Country from cuts to Medicaid under ACA repeal. Although the amendment didn't get a vote, he will offer it again. And he cosponsored another amendment that would have prevented the Senate from advancing legislation that reduces federal payments to states under the Medicaid expansion or increases the overall number of uninsured. The amendment was narrowly defeated.