Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Five Ways The Ryan Budget Hurts New Mexico
Republican Senate candidate Heather Wilson says she “admires” Paul Ryan for his willingness to “put forth bold ideas” that would end Medicare as we know it, impose deep cuts to Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories, gut funding for early education and college assistance, increase taxes on the middle class, and deal a severe blow to women and Hispanic families.
Here are five ways the Ryan budget hurts New Mexico:
1. The Ryan budget ends Medicare as we know it. The Ryan budget would scrap the guaranteed benefits provided by Medicare, and force nearly 300,000 New Mexico seniors into a voucher program when they retire. As a result, health care costs for seniors would increase by as much as $5,900 each year. The Ryan budget would also force many seniors to pay the full cost of their prescription drugs, burdening them with costs of almost $12,000.
2. The Ryan budget would impose deep cuts to Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories. Under the Ryan budget, funding for Sandia National Laboratories would be reduced by 10 percent, while funding for Los Alamos National Laboratory would be reduced by 17 percent. These cuts would impede the essential missions carried out at the laboratories and cut New Mexico jobs.
3. The Ryan budget would gut funding for early education and college assistance. In New Mexico alone, $16 million would be cut from Head Start programs and more than $21 million would be cut from Pell Grants. As a result, more than 2,000 children would loose access to preschool and other early education programs and more than 3,000 college students would loose their assistance entirely in New Mexico.
4. The Ryan budget would cut taxes for the rich while raising taxes on New Mexico’s middle class. Hard-working New Mexican families with incomes below $200,000 would see their taxes increase by nearly $2,700 each year. At the same time, the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy would be made permanent and millionaires would get a windfall tax cut of $265,000.
5. The Ryan budget would deal a severe blow to women and Hispanic families. The Ryan budget’s extreme reforms to Medicare would increase out-of-pocket health care costs for nearly 190,000 Hispanic New Mexicans by thousands of dollars each year. They would also disproportionately affect women, who account for the majority of Medicare recipients. Increasing the cost of services like mammograms and cancer screenings would put preventative health care further out of reach for millions of women across the country.
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Their View: A Simple Solution to an Urgent Problem
Following is an Op-Ed by Rep. Moe Maestas, the op-ed was seen in the Las Cruces Sun-News today.
Every now and then we are presented with an easy opportunity to solve a problem. When a simple solution presents itself the choice is easy. It's typically called a "no-brainer." Governor Susana Martinez has been presented with just that.
The problem to be solved: an ever growing number of New Mexicans, many of them working full-time, cannot afford health insurance. Our uninsured population ranks second-highest in the nation, making this one of our state's most urgent and critical problems. Tens of thousands of New Mexicans do not have access to decent affordable health care.
A recent Families USA report entitled "Dying for Coverage: The Deadly Consequences of Being Uninsured," used methodology developed by the Institute of Medicine to calculate that between 2005 and 2010, over 1,400 New Mexicans died prematurely because they did not have health insurance. Many others hold on desperately by turning to our crowded emergency rooms, and subsequently, health insurance rates continue to rise for everyone else as hospitals and insurance companies pass on those costs. The broken system of expensive and unpaid emergency room visits translates into $2,300 per year tacked on in higher premiums charged by private insurance companies to those who do have insurance.
Expanding Medicaid would enable over 150,000 hard-working New Mexicans to access preventative doctor visits and allow doctors to focus on health care outcomes rather than reactive treatment. In addition, infusing hundreds of thousands of families in our state would no longer have to live just one healthcare crisis away from financial ruin and dropping out of the middle class.
The U.S. Supreme Court's healthcare decision that gives states the option to expand Medicaid to low- income adults has handed Gov. Martinez a tremendous opportunity and a real solution. This opportunity is the best bang for the buck for New Mexico. The federal government has taken on the responsibility of paying the entire cost of the newly covered for the first three years (2014-16) and gradually reducing its share to 90 percent for 2020 and beyond. According to a recent study by N.M. Voices for Children, this infusion of millions of federal dollars will create an estimated 17,000 jobs in New Mexico by 2015. It's hard to see how anyone can call that a bad deal.
Unfortunately, Gov. Martinez appears to be turning what should be a no-brainer into an agonizing political dilemma. By taking the Medicaid opportunity path, she can choose to save lives, save money, and create jobs in New Mexico. It's simply the right thing to do.
But the alternative path that seems to pressure Gov. Martinez is one paved with politics at its worst. Out of a misplaced sense of partisan ambition or steered by ideological handlers, she might choose to march in lockstep with governors such as Wisconsin's Scott Walker, Florida's Rick Scott, and Louisiana's Bobby Jindal. In rejecting the Medicaid opportunity, those governors have abdicated their responsibility and have thrown their most vulnerable populations under the bus — merely to score partisan political debating points.
It's a disgrace that our state has not done more to bring up the most vulnerable among us. The rejection of this opportunity would mean a stomach punch to our state's potential and the continued decline of our state's healthcare outcomes.
This is too important to allow national politics to dictate policy in New Mexico. Let's hope Governor Martinez is committed to solving problems and does the right thing by expanding health care coverage in New Mexico.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
New Mexican Families Will Lose Out With Ryan Budget
Stats Show Potentially Devastating Losses
On Wednesday, former Albuquerque Mayor and Congressional Candidate Marty Chavez released the following statement on the Families USA reports (here and here) on the devastating losses New Mexican families could face if the Paul Ryan Budget became law.
“While everyone can agree we need to fix this deficit, I refuse to do it on the backs of New Mexico's working families and seniors who did nothing to create the problems we face today.
“This right-wing budget destroys Medicare and Medicaid as we know it. In Congress, I will hold Republicans accountable and fight to strengthen and improve these programs because it's unfair to ask seniors to shoulder higher costs while giving a tax breaks to the richest few.
“The reports released today explicitly lay out the damage that will be done to Medicaid and Medicare funding here in New Mexico and would reverse decades of progress toward giving New Mexican seniors, children and low-income families health care security.
“Through 2022, New Mexico stands to lose over $9.2 billion in existing Medicaid funding, $6.4 billion in Medicaid expansion funding, $8.4 billion in repealed tax credits in the Affordable Care Act and $1.3 billion in Medicare spending. As well, by repealing the Affordable Care Act, the GOP will leave over 280,000 New Mexicans without insurance during the same time period.
“This kind of wholesale destruction of health care security for the most vulnerable New Mexicans is completely unacceptable. The distance between the values and priorities that this budget are based on and mine could not be farther apart.”
As Mayor of Albuquerque, Chavez was a strong advocate for low-income families and directly funded Title 1 for the homeless and made sure that children of homeless families were provided breakfast and lunch at school. As well, Marty created the Elementary Schools Initiative to provide before and after school programs that included arts and crafts, field trips, recreation and study time.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
A Bad Prescription for New Mexico
New Families USA report shows how Ryan budget would slash billions in funding for Medicare, Medicaid here in NM.
Attached are two papers by Families USA outlining the costs to Medicare and Medicaid under the Ryan budget recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.
This budget is bad news for the more than 320,000 New Mexico Medicare beneficiaries and the thousands of working poor who cover their children with Medicaid.
Explains that House Republicans would harm both current and future Medicare beneficiaries by replacing the program with a voucher system and making substantial benefit cuts. The report also provides state-level data on the prescription drug savings that enrollees would lose under this proposal.
Explains how the Republican proposal would affect the states. It provides state-level data on the federal funding each state would lose, the additional burden on taxpayers, and the rise in the number of uninsured residents.
Friday, March 23, 2012
Will Republican Janice Arnold-Jones Go On the Record on the GOP Budget Plan to Cut Medicare While Protecting Tax Cuts for Millionaires?
Yesterday, dozens of local seniors joined Democratic Pre-Primary Convention winner Eric Griego to deliver an open letter and thousands of petition signatures to the Republican front-runner, Janice Arnold-Jones. The open letter asked Arnold-Jones if she supported the Republican budget plan to end Medicare as we know it by replacing it with a fixed amount voucher program while protecting tax cuts for millionaires.
While it was unclear if Arnold-Jones was at her campaign headquarters, a campaign staffer received the group to let them know that she was unavailable and would not discuss her position on the GOP budget.
“Does Janice Arnold-Jones support the Republican budget plan to cut Medicare’s guaranteed benefits while protecting tax cuts for millionaires?” asked Virginia Calderon, one of the local seniors visiting with Arnold-Jones. “Protecting Medicare’s guaranteed benefits is especially important for seniors who are women, because women tend to live longer than men and rely more on the program. We want to know if Janice supports seniors and women or millionaires.”
“Why won’t Janice Arnold-Jones or her campaign tell us if she agrees or disagrees with the Republican budget plan to end Medicare?” asked Paul Eichhorn, another local senior in the group. “It’s an important question for seniors like me and others who will become a Medicare beneficiary.”
Eric Griego has said that he would never accept any cuts, privatization or undermining of Medicare, and called on Arnold-Jones to state her position clearly also.
To watch the delivery of the 5000+ petition letter signatures follow this link.
The following is the text of the open letter started by Griego that was delivered to Arnold-Jones today:
Dear Republican Candidates for Congress,
Our elderly have earned their Medicare benefits. They have worked and paid taxes to support those who came before them, and it is their right to receive those guaranteed benefits in their retirement when they need it.
Unfortunately, the Republican Congress has released a budget proposal to end Medicare by replacing it with a fixed amount voucher program while protecting tax cuts for millionaires. The Republican plan hurts seniors and especially women, who typically live longer than men and thus rely more on Medicare.
New Mexican voters deserve to know where each of the candidates for Congress stands on this important issue affecting seniors. I am getting on the record to promise New Mexicans that I would never accept any cuts, privatization or undermining of Medicare, and that I oppose the Republican budget plan.
Will you also get on the record to state clearly whether you support the Republican plan to end Medicare as we know it while protecting tax cuts for millionaires?
Democrat for Congress (NM-1)
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Medicaid Action Day at Our Roundhouse
"More than 70 Medicaid advocates today visited the Legislature and Governor’s office, asking policymakers to protect this vital health-care program that serves more than 550,000 New Mexicans, many of whom are children.
Many of the advocates at today’s Medicaid Lobby Day at the Roundhouse are recipients of the health program designed to cover the poor.
Advocates and recipients are concerned about Governor Martinez’s plan to redesign Medicaid, fearing the governor will push to implement co-pays, which will hurt working families.
The photo below is a meeting held at the Governors office to discuss their concerns.
“Too many New Mexico families are in the impossible position of choosing between food and rent or food and electricity,” said Roqui Jones, a Medicaid supporter. “To add Medicaid co-pays onto this burden would be disastrous as people work to lift their families out of poverty and create better lives for their kids.”
Medicaid Lobby Day was sponsored by several New Mexico organizations representing thousands of New Mexico Medicaid recipients. These include: OLE New Mexico, New Mexico Alliance for Retired Americans, New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty, Know Your Care New Mexico, LULAC, NM CIR/SEIU, Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless and Mi Via Moving Forward."