That’s how Sylvia Villarreal, CEO and owner of Taos Clinic for Youth, described telemedicine and its place in rural healthcare. Villarreal has offered limited telehealth services, also referred to as telemedicine, to patients for about eight years.
Telehealth refers to healthcare services that are administered remotely between patient and doctor, typically over video using a broadband connection. In theory, telehealth could significantly expand access to healthcare in rural communities. But implementing telehealth across the U.S. has proved challenging for a number of reasons — insurance coverage and reimbursement being one of the larger roadblocks to adoption for providers. After a recent push at the federal level to expand telehealth service reimbursements for Medicaid and Medicare patients in response to COVID-19, one of the biggest challenges to adoption has suddenly been removed.
U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, a Democrat in New Mexico’s highly conservative southern New Mexico district, rebuked a progressive colleague for cheering the recent dramatic drop in oil and gas prices. Torres Small represents a heavily conservative district that includes the state’s portion of the Permian Basin, one of the most oil-rich areas in the world. “A champion for the working class should be a champion for all workers,” Torres Small said on Tuesday, in response to tweets from Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Ocasio-Cortez of New York, like Torres Small a freshman Democrat, is a prominent progressive and the most prominent rising star of the left wing of the party. Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, “You absolutely love to see it,” a Twitter meme, in reply to the unprecedented drop in oil and gas futures on Monday that saw prices drop to negative for the first time in history.
The U.S. House voted to approve two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump Wednesday night.
The House voted 230-197, with one voting present, on the first article of impeachment, abuse of power. That alleged that Trump used his powers as President to try to punish Joe Biden, a political opponent. The House voted 229-198, with one voting present, on the second article of impeachment, obstruction of Congress. That article alleged that Trump improperly impeded the investigation in a number of ways, including directing current and former officials to not comply with subpoenas from House committees. It’s just the third time in U.S. history that a president has been impeached, after Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998.
U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small announced this weekend that she will vote to approve articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. The House is expected to vote on two articles of impeachment against Trump this week. The freshman Democrat said in a statement that she believes “impeachment is the necessary response to President Trump’s use of the Executive Office of the President for his own personal and political gain.”
Torres Small won election in a very narrow race in a conservative district that Trump won in 2016. Torres Small was one of the moderate and conservative Democrats who won congressional elections in 2018 as part of a Democratic wave. The articles of impeachment approved by the House Judiciary Committee last week charge Trump with abuse of power for his conduct in asking Ukraine to help his political campaign by investigating Joe Biden’s son.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday that the U.S. House of Representatives would start drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump over his withholding of foreign aid to Ukraine in exchange for investigating the son of a political rival. The announcement came after an investigation by the House, which began in late September. At the end of October, all three of New Mexico’s members of the House, all Democrats, voted to support the impeachment inquiry. The investigations included closed door meetings by House committees and more recently public hearings of the House Intelligence Committee and the House Judiciary Committee. Ben Ray Luján, the Assistant Speaker in the U.S. House of Representatives, supported the announcement.
House Democrats, including all members of New Mexico’s delegation, voted Thursday to approve rules related to the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. The 232-196 vote was nearly on party lines, with ex-Republican, now independent Justin Amash voting along with the Democratic majority and two Democrats voting with Republicans against the rules. The vote outlined rules for the next phase of the impeachment proceedings, which has so far consisted of closed-door meetings with witnesses. At the same time, the House has been pushing for documents from Trump and testimony from those close to Trump. Republicans have criticized the process, saying it is not transparent.
After becoming one of the final Democratic holdouts, U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small now supports the ongoing impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump happening in the House, citing Trump’s efforts to block the investigation. However, she said she still has “not reached judgment on the president’s actions, nor on the appropriate response.”
The first-term congresswoman announced the news in an opinion piece in the Las Cruces Sun News on Thursday. Previously, Torres Small had held the middle ground, saying she supported an investigation into the allegations against Trump related to Ukraine, but not calling it a formal impeachment inquiry. However, the Trump administration’s actions changed that. “Earlier this week, the president and his administration made it clear to New Mexicans that they are not committed to finding the truth,” Torres Small wrote.
“Today, I am announcing the House of Representatives moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said in a brief statement Tuesday afternoon in an historic announcement. Shortly after Pelosi announced that she directed six committees to investigate Trump under the auspices of an impeachment inquiry, U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, a first-term Democrat representing the most conservative district in the state, released a statement that did not mention impeachment, and instead focused on access to a whistleblower complaint over actions Trump took regarding aid to Ukraine and allegedly pressuring the country to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden. “Congress has a legal right to see the full details of any whistleblower complaint, especially those that involve our nation’s security,” Torres Small said. “The President must release the full complaint and allow any testimony by the whistleblower, or any other administration officials, to occur free of White House interference. Through the coming weeks and months, I will act to support and defend our Constitution by insisting on a transparent process that fully informs the American people and restores trust and faith in our system.
Two projects at military bases will see their funding sent to fund the construction of a border wall between the United States and Mexico. In all, the federal government is diverting the funds from 127 military projects totaling $3.6 billion toward the construction of the wall. The U.S. Department of Defense says the diversion will be temporary. The projects in New Mexico that saw their funding eliminated, at least temporarily, are $85 million for an Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) training facility for at Holloman Air Force Base and $40 million originally slated for an information systems facility at White Sands Missile Range. U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, who represents the area and sits on the House Armed Services Committee, said she was “appalled at the Administration’s decision to divert military construction funds allocated for projects essential to our national defense to build a fiscally irresponsible border wall.”
New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District has elected Republicans for the past four decades (minus a two-year blip 10 years ago). That changed last fall, when Xochitl Torres Small, D, won. The former water rights attorney now represents one of the nation’s largest districts, which covers more than half of New Mexico, from the Albuquerque suburbs to the southern border. This story originally appeared at High Country News and is reprinted with permission. Torres Small attributes her success to her emphasis on issues her rural constituents care about, regardless of party.