March 24, 2017

Dems in NM delegation urge Martinez to reject Obamacare replacement

Andy Lyman

Gov. Susana Martinez delivering the 2017 State of the State Address.

Democrats in New Mexico’s congressional delegation urged Gov. Susana Martinez to raise concerns about the Republican Obamacare replacement’s projected negative impact on Medicaid.

A letter addressed to Martinez Friday signed by Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and Reps. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Ben Ray Lujan highlights impacts of the Medicaid expansion in New Mexico under the Affordable Care Act.

Their letter attributes the Medicaid expansion to gaining health insurance for an extra 263,000 people in the state and bringing in $4.6 billion a year to New Mexico in federal money. Martinez opted to expand Medicaid in New Mexico using provisions under the ACA in 2013, despite her stated opposition to the law.

Related: Analysis: AHCA would reduce insured rate, increases costs in NM

Some Republican governors chose not to expand Medicaid in their states.

The Republican replacement plan, known as the American Health Care Act, would cut Medicaid funding in New Mexico by $11 billion in federal money over the next 10 years, the letter warns. The Democratic lawmakers also say that 108,000 New Mexicans would lose their Medicaid coverage under the Republican plan.

“We understand that you have been supportive of of efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but this bill also makes significant changes to the Medicaid program by limiting federal funding in the form of per capita caps for the entire program that have nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act,” the letter to Martinez reads. “Governors in other states that have expanded Medicaid have recognized the negative impact of such a proposal would have on their constituents, and have been outspoken in their opposition. The time for you to join them to express your concerns about how this bill will hurt New Mexico is now.”

Last week, four Republican governors announced their opposition to the AHCA. All four governors are in states that expanded Medicaid.

Martinez has stated support for repealing the ACA—most recently in late December—but has not said anything publicly about her stance on the AHCA. NM Political Report has left questions on this issue with her spokesman seven times through text messages, emails and voicemails since Wednesday and has not heard back from him.

Meanwhile, no one in the state’s congressional delegation has committed to supporting the Republican legislation. All Democrats are opposed while Rep. Steve Pearce, the state’s lone Republican congressman, has raised concerns about ACHA and hasn’t attached his support to it. Pearce is a member of the very conservative House Freedom Caucus, which as of this writing remains largely opposed to AHCA over concerns that it doesn’t go far enough in repealing Obamacare.

Related: NM advocates, patients push against Obamacare replacement

The bill, which as of this writing is slated for a full vote on the House floor Friday afternoon per the order of President Trump, also appears doom. Earlier in the day, the New York Times reported that House Speaker Paul Ryan raced to the White House to tell Trump Republicans did not have enough votes to pass the AHCA out of the House.

Update: The House pulled the bill before a vote Friday.

All Democrats in both the House and Senate are opposed to the legislation.

Read the letter below:

Letter to Susana Martinez by New Mexico Political Report on Scribd