December 03, 2015

Udall Votes to Protect Health Care for Hundreds of Thousands of New Mexicans

WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall cast several votes to protect important health care services for New Mexicans. The series of votes were on amendments to and final passage of a budget reconciliation bill, which Republicans put forward in an attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The bill passed by a vote of 52-47, though it is expected to be vetoed by the president, and the Senate vote is far short of what would be needed to override that veto. Udall voted against the bill and released the following statement:

"Just five and a half years ago, thousands of New Mexicans couldn't afford to see a doctor when they got sick. Many more were one major illness away from bankruptcy. Insurance companies determined whether they could get covered for health care, and they could be denied for a pre-existing condition - or be required to pay more simply for being a woman. Today, over 230,000 more New Mexicans have insurance, and - thanks to the Affordable Care Act - health care is one of the strongest parts of our economy. Most importantly, I hear from New Mexicans regularly about how, thanks to the law, they can get life-saving care that they couldn't afford before.

"We can't afford to go back to the days when insurance companies were in charge, and when something as basic as health care was out of reach. And I will fight any effort to take health insurance away from tens of thousands of New Mexicans. This bill would void portions of the ACA that New Mexicans depend on, including the Medicaid expansion. But while it passed the Senate, it's headed for failure: the president will veto it, and there aren't enough votes in Congress to override the veto.

"Rather than orchestrating political show votes, I hope that from here on, we can agree to roll up our sleeves and work together on improving our health care system and - just as importantly -- strengthening our economy."

The reconciliation bill also defunds Planned Parenthood, which each year serves about 21,000 New Mexicans, many of whom are low-income and do not receive services elsewhere. Planned Parenthood offers counseling services, cancer and disease screenings, in addition to family planning services.

Udall said: "Planned Parenthood provides critical health care and preventive services - such as cancer screenings and tests - for women and men, many of whom can't get these services anywhere else. And I'm not going to allow Congress to take away life-saving health care for thousands of New Mexicans."