Senators Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall support a Medicare buy-in bill that would allow individuals and companies to buy into the federally-run health care program, the latest bill to address healthcare introduced by Democrats that has little chance to pass in the Republican-controlled Congress. Sens. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, and Chris Murphy, D-Connecticut, introduced the legislation this week along with nine co-sponsors including the two New Mexico Democrats. Sponsors of the bill say it will pay for itself through premiums and that it would drive down private insurance premiums because of the new competition. The Murphy-Merkley bill, dubbed the Choose Medicare Act, would give both individuals and companies the option of buying health insurance coverage through a Medicare plan instead of private insurance.
Update 5:30 pm: Heinrich spoke for roughly 20 minutes, mainly focusing on how as a gun owner himself, he can’t understand why the proposed reforms are controversial. “The fact that we’re arguing about this is unfathomable,” Heinrich said. “I can’t tell you how many times I have been through the background check process.” He also said he was proud of the many candlelight vigils that happened in New Mexico in response to the Orlando shootings. Heinrich asked Murphy whether his proposals include due process measures for people who feel wrongly listed on the federal Terrorist Watch List to contest their status.
U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich signed onto a letter to the Secretary of Defense asking for the Pentagon to institute specific anti-discrimination policies applying to gay, lesbian and bisexual service members. “Doing away with the discriminatory military policy of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ brought us closer to achieving full equality for all Americans,” Heinrich told New Mexico Political Report in a statement. “However, current policies have not been updated to protect thousands of our heroic gay and lesbian service members who still face discrimination in the workplace. That’s unacceptable and it must change.” Buzzfeed News was the first to report the letter. The letter calls on Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to expand upon the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.