Thursday, July 26, 2012

Luján: New Reports Show Affordable Care Act Is Saving Seniors Money on Prescription Drugs and Reduces the Deficit

Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District highlighted two new reports that were recently released on the impact that the Affordable Care Act is having on New Mexico’s seniors as well as the effect it will have on the deficit.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released data showing that health insurance reform has already saved New Mexico seniors on Medicare $18,751,250 on prescription drugs. A report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that the Affordable Health Care act will reduce the deficit by $109 billion over ten years.

“Thirty-three times House Republicans have voted to repeal the health care law. Thirty-three times House Republicans have voted to increase the deficit and force seniors to pay more for their prescription drugs,” Congressman Luján said. “In addition to the many other benefits – such as ending discrimination for pre-existing conditions and allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ health care plan until age 26 – these reports make it clear that the people of New Mexico have much to gain through the Affordable Care Act and that they have already have more money in their pockets thanks to lower prescription drug costs. For seniors on a fixed budget, saving hundreds of dollars on life-saving medication will have a significant impact during this tough economic time.”

Key provisions in the Affordable Care Act addressed the rising costs of prescription drugs for seniors on Medicare. The law has already helped seniors who hit the Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage gap or “donut hole.” In 2010, people with Medicare who hit the donut hole received a one-time $250 rebate, totaling more than $5 million for seniors in New Mexico. In 2011, people with Medicare began receiving a 50 percent discount on covered brand name drugs and 7 percent coverage of generic drugs in the donut hole. Last year, more than 19,000 Medicare beneficiaries in New Mexico received $9.7 million in discounts, saving the average beneficiary $497. This year, Medicare coverage for generic drugs in the coverage gap has increased to 14 percent, already saving seniors $4 million.

The CBO’s findings, released on Tuesday, make it clear that efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act will significantly add to the deficit. While the law will save $109 billion over the next ten years, CBO also found that the Affordable Care Act will reduce the deficit by roughly $1.5 trillion in the second decade.

July 26, 2012 at 12:40 PM in Healthcare, Obama Health Care Reform, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03), Senior Citizens | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

NM Retiree Leader Slams Rep. Pearce & US House for Voting Against Seniors, Medicare

The following statement was issued today by Barbara Pardo, President of the New Mexico Alliance for Retired Americans, in response to the U.S. House voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act:

“Representative Steve Pearce and the U.S. House shamefully voted to take away Medicare benefits that are helping seniors here in New Mexico better afford to see a doctor and fill a prescription.

“New Mexican retirees are upset that, in voting for repeal, Rep. Pearce chose ideology and partisan politics over seniors’ basic needs. We are pleased that Reps Heinrich & Lujan stood up against the powerful special interests in support of a law that is helping workers and retirees across our state.

In our state, nearly 20,000 Medicare beneficiaries have already saved a total of $17.6 million on their prescriptions. This is what Rep. Pearce voted to take away from our seniors today. Thanks to what Pearce calls "ObamaCare", over 200,000 New Mexican seniors have received free, life-saving tests for chronic diseases. Seniors call that accountable health care and wonder what Rep. Pearce is thinking by voting so obsessively to repeal such a great deal for all New Mexicans.

“Retirees worry about their children and grandchildren, and are happy that the law allows young adults under age 26 stay on their parents’ health insurance. Seniors are glad to see working families finally protected from the greed and outrageous business practices of the insurance companies.

“This was the 33rd vote in Congress to repeal this law, a law that in the past two years has been approved by both houses of Congress, signed by the President, and upheld by the Supreme Court. It is time to move on. Political gamesmanship will not help a single retiree, worker, or students live a better, healthier life. Rep. Pearce needs to focus on serving New Mexicans instead of his Wall Street buddies.”

July 11, 2012 at 06:05 PM in Healthcare, Obama Health Care Reform, Senior Citizens, Steve Pearce | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

NM-1: Eric Griego Opposes GOP Budget Proposal to End Medicare

Griego logoFrom the Eric Griego for Congress Campaign.

Eric Griego Calls on Republicans Dan Lewis and Janice Arnold-Jones to choose between Medicare for seniors or tax cuts for millionaires.

On Monday, Democratic Pre-Primary Convention winner Eric Griego issued a challenge to his leading Republican opponents Dan Lewis and Janice Arnold-Jones to choose between protecting Medicare for seniors or keeping tax cuts for millionaires.  Griego also announced that he would personally deliver thousands of petition signatures to Lewis on Wednesday and to Arnold-Jones in the near future.

Griego’s challenge to the two Republican candidates is in anticipation of the soon-to-be-revealed GOP budget proposal by the Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, who has vowed to save tax cuts for millionaires by ending Medicare and replacing it with a fixed amount voucher program.

“It’s unconscionable that the Republicans insist on forcing seniors to give up Medicare’s guaranteed benefits to keep paying for tax cuts for millionaires,” Griego said.  “From their push to privatize Social Security to their relentless attempts to end Medicare, the Republican war on seniors must be stopped.”

“That is why we must make it clear to Republican candidates that there will be a political price to pay for trying to end Medicare while coddling millionaires and HMOs,” Griego continued.  “I am proud to lead the fight to protect Medicare, and I applaud the other progressive congressional candidates in other races around the country for joining me this week to deliver these petitions to Republican opponents.”

Under the GOP plan to replace Medicare, if the voucher’s fixed amount is not enough to cover certain health problems, then the beneficiary must find another solution.  For most seniors living on fixed incomes, Griego says it would amount to Republicans telling seniors, “If you get sick, then you’re on your own.”

Griego has vowed to fight any attempts to cut, privatize or undermine Medicare and Social Security.

March 20, 2012 at 11:46 AM in Action Alerts, Candidates & Races, Eric Griego, NM-01 Congressional Race 2012, Senior Citizens, Social Security | Permalink | Comments (2)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

3/19: New Mexico Seniors to Rep. Steve Pearce: We LOVE the Affordable Care Act!

Seniors to present letter to Pearce’s Las Cruces and Los Lunas offices to mark 2nd Anniversaryof Affordable Care Act

On March 19,2012 – In recognition of the 2nd anniversary of passage of the Affordable Care Act health reform law, leading senior-citizen advocates from Southern New Mexico will present a letter on behalf of seniors to Rep. Steve Pearce at his offices in Las Cruces and Los Lunas on Monday, March 19. 

The letter highlights many of the senior benefits of the Affordable Care Act, underscoring just how important the legislation has become for seniors across New Mexico.

As aresult of health reform, every New Mexico senior on Medicare – some 316,000 people – are now eligible for new, free-preventative care services such as flu shots and colonoscopies. More than 20,000 New Mexicans have benefitted from prescription drug donut-hole coverage, helping them pay for costly medications.

These presentations to Rep. Pearce are part of a series of events celebrating theanniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act the week of March 19-23.

WHO:  NM Alliance for Retired Americans, Know Your Care New Mexico

WHAT:  Presentation of letters on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act to Rep. Pearce

WHERE:  The district offices of Rep. Pearce in Las Cruces and Los Lunas
Las Cruces Office, 570 N Telshor Blvd, LasCruces, NM 88011
Los Lunas Office, 3445 Lambros Loop NE, Los Lunas

WHEN:  March 19, 2012,  Las Cruces Presentation 11 a.m., Los Lunas Presentation 2 p.m.

March 17, 2012 at 10:40 AM in Events, Healthcare, Obama Health Care Reform, Senior Citizens, Steve Pearce | Permalink | Comments (0)

3/19: HHS Assistant Secretary for Aging in Albuquerque to talk to seniors about new Affordable Care Act benefits

Kathy Greenlee will visit North Valley Senior Center, help seniors celebrate the 2nd anniversary of landmark health-reform law

On March 19, 2012 – Assistant Secretary for Aging Kathy Greenlee will be in New Mexico on Monday to visit with Seniors at North Valley Senior Center in Albuquerque from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Greenlee will be in New Mexico to help local seniors celebrate the two-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act with a birthday cake and brief presentation on the benefits New Mexico seniors can now enjoy as a result of health reform.

Such benefits include a wide range of free preventative care services, prescription-drug donut-hole assistance and coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.

This event is part of a series of events celebrating the anniversary of the passage of Affordable Care Act the week of March 19-23.

WHO: HHS Assistant Secretary on Aging Kathy Greenlee
WHAT: 2nd Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act celebration presentation at the North Valley Senior Center.
WHERE:  North Valley Senior Center, 3825 4th Street Northwest, Albuquerque
WHEN:  11 a.m., March 19, 2012. 

March 17, 2012 at 10:30 AM in Events, Healthcare, Obama Health Care Reform, Senior Citizens | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Medicaid Townhall Fights Gov. Martinez's Tax on Working People

A packed room of Medicaid recipients and advocates, fighting Governor Martinez's proposed tax on Medicaid recipients showed up last Wednesday night to speak out over her plans.

  

The video above was provided by OLE NM. Thanks OLE for sharing this well attended event. The young man shown in the video still above is my favorite part of the whole video.

And this press release below was provided by NM Alliance of Retired Americans

On Wednesday, November 9, concerned retirees and seniors in Albuquerque joined forces with other vulnerable communities at a Medicaid Community Meeting at 6 pm at the UNM Continuing Education Building to tell Gov. Martinez not to cut Medicaid benefits, nor raise co-payments or premiums, as she plans it’s re-design in the face of threats from Washington's Supercommittee to consider cuts to Medicaid, Medicare & Social Security this Fall.

Federal and statewide pressure to balance existing budget shortfalls have led some to conclude that our state’s seniors can afford to live with less access to medical care and economic security in order to preserve corporate loopholes and tax breaks that have created the growing income inequalities that are now threatening the fabric of our society.

In August, President Obama signed a Budget Control Act that established the Super Committee, a bipartisan Congressional committee charged with identifying $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction that could include Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security cuts. The Super Committee, made up of 6 Democrats & 6 Republicans, will report to Congress by late November. If a majority of the committee members reach agreement on a $1.5 trillion deficit-reduction plan, it will get an up-or-down majority vote by late December. There can be no Senate filibusters.

Some members of the Super Committee have narrowly targeted cuts to Medicaid, Medicare & Social Security, with scarce attention to the consequences this would have on seniors of today and tomorrow.  Cuts to Medicaid could reduce access to care for 35,000 New Mexican seniors in nursing homes and 60,000 New Mexicans who live with a disability.  Cuts to Medicare could jeopardize preventive & specialty medical care that serves nearly 300,000 New Mexican elders. Without their monthly Social Security check, over 100,000 New Mexican seniors would fall below the poverty line.

Bernice Romero, a retired phone company worker from Albuquerque, reminds us how far our promises to seniors have fallen in these hard times.  “Labor union retirees who have worked very hard jobs for deferred security in their old age are now counting on Medicaid to get basic access to the doctor, thanks to recent insurance premium hikes of up to 1000% in New Mexico.  How will our people live if we raise Medicaid co-payments or cut their benefits?”

November 13, 2011 at 03:44 PM in Healthcare, Minority Issues, Senior Citizens | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Video/Photos: Reps. Nancy Pelosi and Ben Ray Lujan Speak to Santa Fe Seniors on Medicare and Social Security


Click for photo album

On Monday, U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and NM-03 Congressman Ben Ray Lujan visited the Mary Esther Gonzales Senior Center in Santa Fe to talk about the importance of saving and strengthening Medicare and Social Security. It's a topic that is much on the minds of New Mexicans these days, as these programs are under attack as never before from right-wing extremists gone mad.

Republicans have been mounting a savage campaign against these two highly successful programs that have helped so many seniors obtain low cost, quality health care and live a life of dignity instead of abject poverty. Especially in the U.S. House, where extremists like Rep. Eric Cantor and Rep. John Ryan are pushing to abolish the programs, "privatize" them or at least cripple their ability to function effectively, Dems like Reps. Pelosi and Lujan have their hands full battling misguided right-wing rhetoric with the facts.

Meanwhile, the leading GOP candidate for president,Texas Gov. Rick Perry, has even referred to Social Security as a "Ponzi scheme," and claimed the program -- which pays for itself -- is unconstitutional and unsustainable. Nothing could be further from the truth, and both Pelosi and Lujan made it crystal clear that they will fight to protect our social safety net with every ounce of their being in the face of brutal right-wing attacks.

Reps. Pelosi and Lujan addressed a packed house on Monday, accompanied by Santa Fe Mayor David Coss, Sylviana Diaz D'Ouville of the New Mexico Alliance for Retired Americans, Carol Estes of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and others active in the senior and health care communities. The large crowd paid rapt attention to the speakers and were clearly looking for reassurances that Congressional Dems will continue to fight hard to protect these vital and often life-saving programs. They got what they came for.

In the video above, Rep. Lujan welcomes everyone, outlines what we are up against from Republicans and asks those present to stay active in helping Dem protect Social Security and Medicare.


Rep. Nancy Pelosi addresses the crowd

In her speech (above) Rep. Pelosi said these programs are "about the economic security of families; it's about our responsibility from one generation to the next." She noted that 46 years ago Medicare was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson who said, "no longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine. No longer will illness crush and destroy the savings that people so carefully put away over a lifetime so that they might enjoy dignity in their later years."

She explained that when Social Security was passed, President Franklin Roosevelt said it was a law that "would take care of human needs and at the same time provide the United States an economic structure of vastly greater soundness." This isn't just about how these programs meet the needs of seniors; it's about how these programs "meet the needs of our country," Pelosi emphasized.

The "Super Congress" Table of 12
Rep. Pelosi spoke about the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, which is charged with finding $1.5 trillion in cuts by late November, saying, "We're at a place where there's a big debate going on in our country. I think you will agree it has not been a pretty sight. So we have to bring clarity to what is going to happen at that table. And as we bring clarity for all of you, we also hope that it brings you hope." She explained that the "decisions on these programs will take place at "a table of 12 people. This table of 12 cannot be a chopping block for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. It must be a table of hope, of opportunity, of economic growth, a table of greatness for our country, a nurturing table -- not a chopping block."

Pelosi also stressed that all of the proceedings of the "Super Congress" table of 12 should be "open to the public" and "transparent," with real-time webcasts online and broadcasts on TV, so that the "decisions made will be clear to the public." Why? "So when a decision is there that says they want people to pay more for Medicare and get fewer benefits, while they give tax cuts to corporations sending jobs overseas," people will see who is pushing for that. "So when they say they want to block grant and shrink Medicaid, while we can give a tax cut to the wealthiest people in America, while making those who are economically challenged pay more, those who have contributed to the growth of our country," people will know who is supporting that and also "know that we say no!"

Pelosi continued, "And when they say to young people, you're going to pay tens of billions of dollars more for your student loans so we can give tens of billions of dollars in tax subsidies to big oil, the American people will know whose side everyone is on in this debate." 

American Values
Rep. Pelosi said we need to take the discussion to "higher ground." She asked the audience if they thought "most Americans would agree that the education of our children is an important value." Big applause. She asked if most Americans would agree that "a dignified retirement, health and economic security for our seniors" is an American value." Big applause. Can people agree that "creating jobs for the American people is an important value?" Big applause. Would people agree that "protecting the American people -- whether it is the security of safe neighborhoods, clean air, clean water, the national defense of our country -- is an important value? Big applause. She said we are going to do that "in a fiscally responsible way, fix the deficit and take us into the future in a more stable economy."

"So that table shouldn't be about who do we cut and who do we tax; it's about how do we provide growth? How do we use our tax code to do that, how do we make our investments and government investments" so there's "more effective use of those dollars?" 

Standing Our Ground
Pelosi explained that "we are not drawing any lines in the sand. We are open to suggestions that address the greatness of our country" and its values. "Because if you support the values that you have applauded, and you know the American people support those too, you couldn't possibly support the budgets that have been put forth by the Republicans." As for our seniors and veterans, "their concerns will be represented at that table by the Democrats -- I can assure you of that -- and I hope by the Republicans too."

"We try to take as much partisanship out of all of this" as we can. "We try to find our common ground. But where we can't find the common ground, we must stand our ground for our children, for our seniors, for their families, for our sense of community, for our veterans, for those who have built American, for those who have defended America and for those who are America's future." Standing ovation from the crowd.

The Real Causes of the Deficit
Here, Rep. Pelosi takes a question from Rob Nikolewski of the right-wing-funded Capitol Report about how we can possibly protect Social Security and Medicare given the large federal deficit and debt. She notes that we're mistaken if we think that passing the bill for caring for our seniors to the states is actually reducing the deficit.

She agrees that the deficit is large and must be reduced, but says that, "Democrats know how to reduce the deficit. We had to sweep up behind President George Bush I when he left President Clinton a huge deficit. We passed a bill -- our Budget Bill of 1993 -- that took us into a path of fiscal stability" and "raised taxes on the wealthy." She noted that 4 of Clinton's budgets "were either in surplus or in balance."

Then along comes President Bush II. "Tax cuts to the wealthiest people in the country. A prescription drug bill that gave away the store to the tune of billions and billions and billions of dollars to the pharmaceutical industry. And two unpaid for wars." As she said, you shouldn't lower taxes for the wealthy when you go into war, but Bush did. She noted that Dems can reduce the defict and will do so, but that the current debate is not truly about reducing the deficit. "If this is all about reducing the deficit, why didn't the Republicans say 'boo' when this defict was being amassed under President Bush? They didn't say word one" at that time.

"Now they say tax cuts for the wealthy create jobs," Pelosi continued. "They didn't during the Bush years! In fact, it's important to note that more jobs in the private sector were created in the second year of the Obama administration than in 8 years of the Bush adminisration." She stressed that "these tax breaks aren't creating jobs; they're just creating a deeper deficit by the same people who now say to this president, and this president alone, that if we have to raise the debt ceiling we have to have all of these cuts in our domestic agenda. They've never said that to any other president."

Pelosi explained that, as far as Republicans go, this is really about "destroying the public role," destroying "public education, public safety, clean air, clean water, public safety, you name it -- Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. They have said they have no place in a free society" and they should "wither on the vine." She continued, "if you understand that they don't believe in the public sector ... and they want to privatize" Social Security and other programs.

In the clip above, Rep. Lujan answers another question from Rob Nikolewski about the deficit by saying, "Look at the trajectory Republicans put us on. When there was revenue, they took that revenue and gave it to the most wealthy in the country. They never brought it back. On top of the costs of Afghanistan and Iraq. And now they're saying, oh, well there's not enough revenue coming in. Well they gave it to all the most wealthy of the country." He says, "That's not right." He noted that, "the words "Social Security" shouldn't even be used in the same sentence with "deficit reduction."

As Rep. Lujan notes, the American people are now waking up to what's really going on, and we are not going to stand for it. The Republicans gave away our tax revenues to the rich and big corporations and now they have the nerve to whine that we have to cut vital services to the people because we don't have enough money to pay for them. No way. It is clearly time to ask the rich and big corporations to pay their fair share -- to share in the sacrifice. No more free lunches for them while the right wingers insist that we must balance our budget on the backs of working and middle class Americans.

All videos and photos by M.E. Broderick.

August 31, 2011 at 11:14 AM in Economy, Populism, Finance, Investments, Jobs, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03), Senior Citizens, Social Security | Permalink | Comments (3)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Retiree, Health Groups to Educate Seniors on New Medicare & Pre-Existing Condition Benefits at Albuquerque Senior Centers This Week

This week retiree and health-advocacy groups will be visiting senior centers around Albuquerque educating seniors about new free benefits available to them under Medicare as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Speakers will also educate seniors who are not quite Medicare age about benefits and coverage for people with pre-existing medical conditions.

Who: Alliance for Retired Americans, Senior Citizens Law Office, Health Action NM, Know Your Care New Mexico

What: Informational visits on health care rights and benefits; and law clinics at senior centers in the metro area. All are welcome to attend.

When: August 15-August 19, from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM.

Where:

  • 8/15, Monday: Manzano Mesa Multi-Generational Center, 501 Elizabeth St SE, Albuquerque
  • 8/16, Tuesday: Los Volcanes Senior Center, 6500 Los Volcanes Road Northwest, Albuquerque
  • 8/16, Tuesday: Barelas Senior Center, 714 7th Street SW, Albuquerque (Senior Citizens Law Office clinic)
  • 8/17, Wednesday: Bear Canyon Senior Center 4645 Pitt St. NE, Albuquerque
  • 8/18, Thursday: North Valley Senior Center, 3845 4th St. NW, Albuquerque (Senior Citizens Law Office clinic)
  • 8/18, Thursday: Meadowlark Senior Center, 4330 Meadowlark Ln SE, Rio Rancho (Senior Citizens Law Office clinic)
  • 8/19, Friday: Barelas Senior Center, 714 7th Street SW, Albuquerque

August 15, 2011 at 05:35 AM in Events, Healthcare, Senior Citizens | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rep. Raul Grijalva: I Will Not Support the Emerging Debt Deal! (Dem NM Delegation and Candidates Mute Except for Eric Griego)

There's at least one real Democrat left in the House -- the courageous and proudly liberal Raul Grijalva. I personally will not vote for any Democrat who votes for the "deal" that gives away the store on every core Dem value and extracts nothing of value in return. The "deal" contains provisions that are incredibly anti-working and middle class, anti-everything we believe in. Yet Obama and others are painting it as a victory for "compromise" despite the horrific content of the "compromise."

Obama has made a habit of putting process -- which he and his handlers think makes him look like a sensible, balanced centrist -- over content. Anyone even scanning the content that's emerging on this deal can clearly see that it will create an expanding nightmare for ordinary Americans for decades to come. It is profoundly anti-Democratic, and even anti-democratic with its "Super Congress" provisions and horrendous triggers. And yet I predict almost all of our Dem elected officials and candidates will tout it as a huge victory. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Our elected Dems and candidates should be pushing the President relentlessly to raise the debt ceiling using the 14th amendment and nothing else. I haven't heard a peep on that score out of Rep. Martin Heinrich, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan, Sen. Jeff Bingman, Sen. Tom Udall, Senate candidate Hector Balderas or NM-01 candidate Marty Chavez. CD-1 candidate Eric Griego has been the only one pushing for the 14th amendment way out of this horror story. Bravo on that score.

Rep. Grijalva's powerful statement, released today:

I Will Not Support the Emerging Debt Deal

When a crisis faces our nation, and decisions have to be made, we look to our elected officials to provide the guidance and direction that will help us persevere. In the face of this manufactured debt ceiling crisis, many Members of Congress have failed to lead and are willing to substantially weaken many of the programs that make our nation great.

I will not support the emerging debt deal

I will have no part of a deal that cuts Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to appease the farthest reaches of the right wing of the Republican Party. It is unconscionable to put these programs on the chopping block and ignore the voices and beliefs of the millions of Americans who trust us to lead while continuing to give handouts to the ultra wealthy and the largest corporations. There is no human decency in that.

Rather than fly the standard of the working Americans who voted them into office, some Members of Congress are content to raise the white flag and call it “bipartisanship” or a “grand bargain”. Many elected officials yearn to be leaders, but this debt deal shows that too many of them settle for being politicians.

We Progressives have stood strong against the GOP’s shameless political maneuverings and disastrous ideas. When the GOP introduced the Ryan Plan to cut taxes for the rich and kill Medicare while adding $6 trillion in new debt over the next decade, we stood strong against their irrational and irresponsible plans. We offered another path and introduced the People’s Budget, a straightforward and realistic plan to address our nation’s short- and long-term economic needs without placing the burden on the backs of working Americans. It would balance the budget by 2021, protect the social safety net, end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and importantly, put Americans back to work.

We have made our position clear for months: any deal must balance cuts and revenue. It is morally unjust to ask those Americans who are hurting the most in this recession to shoulder the burden of the GOP’s irresponsible fiscal policies. Today, Progressives and everyone we represent were thrown under the bus. Rather than upholding the commitments made to our seniors and working families, this deal allows the wealthy and big corporations to keep their expensive federal handouts while cutting aid to the families who need it most.

My Progressive colleagues and I pressed Democratic leadership and the Obama administration to join us in opposing cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. To accept this deal is to weaken the credibility of the Democratic Party. If we do not stand up for working Americans now, who will be their voice? If we do not stand up for working Americans now, will they ever trust us to again?

I reject this deal, and the American people reject this deal. The only thing we have left to do is repair the damage the GOP has done to our nation as soon as possible.

July 31, 2011 at 06:48 PM in Children and Families, Corporatism, Democratic Party, Economy, Populism, Eric Griego, Hector Balderas, NM Congressional Delegation, Obama Administration, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03), Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01), Right Wing, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, Sen. Tom Udall, Senior Citizens, Taxes | Permalink | Comments (8)

Monday, July 18, 2011

7/19: Medicare's Last Birthday Party March and Protest in Albuquerque

The NM Alliance for Retired Americans and OLE New Mexico will celebrate what they hope isn't Medicare's last birthday at a protest outside the Bernalillo County Republican Party Headquarters on Tuesday, July 19, at 1:30 PM, with the delivery of a black birthday cake and black balloons to the local GOP HQ. The protest will also include birthday cake for all who attend, symbolizing that late July is the birthday of Medicare.

Those wishing to participate should meet at the AFSCME Union Hall at 1:00 PM that day -- 1202 Pennsylvania NE (North of Lomas, West of Wyoming). The march will end at the GOP office located at 8100 Mountain Road NE, Suite 102, in Albuquerque (map). Wear black!

"The Republican budget takes away our Medicare and replaces it with a voucher system, causing seniors like me to pay more and more out-of-pocket for our health care," said Retiree Sylviana Diaz-D'Ouville. "Medicare is a promise to the American people. It's a promise that ensures seniors -- and our kids and grandkids, one day -- can get the care they need without having to lose their life savings in the process. Let us hope this is not Medicare's last birthday."

Demand government for people, not for profit. Got Questions? 505-796-6544 or 505-401-1328 or NMSeniors@gmail.com.

July 18, 2011 at 07:49 PM in Events, Healthcare, Republican Party, Senior Citizens | Permalink | Comments (1)

Friday, July 15, 2011

NM GOP Senate Candidates: John Sanchez Backs Ending Medicare But Heather Wilson Still Won't Talk

JohnSanchez HeatherWilson

According to a statement released today by the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee (DSCC), it only took a day for extreme, right–wing Republican John Sanchez to get in line with mega-lobbyist Grover Norquist’s demands to support the GOP plan to end Medicare -- but Heather Wilson is refusing to comment. On Wednesday, Norquist issued new marching orders when he said that Republicans need to do their part to enact the reckless spending plan that privatizes Medicare in order to pay for big tax breaks for the rich and oil companies.

The following day, New Mexico Lieutenant Governor and fellow Senate hopeful John Sanchez did as he was told and finally came out and endorsed the plan, but there’s still nothing but crickets from the Wilson camp.

Norquist and Wilson are old Washington friends, and Wilson has previously signed on to Norquist’s pledge to preserve tax breaks for special interests and millionaires. But for months now, Wilson has refused to say specifically where she stands on the Republican plan.

“Heather Wilson’s Tea Party primary challenger got the message and got in line, but Wilson is ignoring new marching orders from her old Washington friend Grover Norquist,” said Matt Canter, Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman. “Wilson has a long history of kowtowing to Norquist’s demands, but now she is sitting silently on the sidelines, while her party recklessly attacks Medicare. Wilson’s refusal to say anything, let alone the right thing by standing up for seniors and Medicare, sends a disturbing message.”

Guess Heather is committed to having it both ways by staying mute on the GOP policy of destroying Medicare as we know it. She doesn't want to offend senior primary voters by openly supporting her party's extreme policy -- but she also doesn't want to anger Tea Party ideologues by saying plainly that she's against it. Instead, Wilson seems dead set on trying to be a cipher on one of the most important issues being discussed in the nation today. Cowardly and expedient, isn't it?

Background:

WISLON SIGNED NORQUIST'S PLEDGE:
April 2011: Wilson Signed Grover Norquist’s ‘Taxpayer Protection Pledge.’ In April 2011, Heather Wilson signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge from Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform. [ATR Release, 4/18/11]

NORQUIST ISSUED NEW MARCHING ORDERS:
Norquist is demanding that Republicans in Congress enact the extreme Republican plan to end Medicare or pay the consequences. “Anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, the keeper of the no-new-taxes pledge that virtually all Republican politicians have signed, has a new set of marching orders for the GOP troops; Enact Rep. Paul Ryan‘s budget plan.” [Wall Street Journal, 7/12/11]

JOHN SANCHEZ GOT ON BOARD:
Sanchez finally endorsed the Ryan plan in a statement yesterday. "A genuine conservative should have no trouble supporting Rep. Ryan’s budget proposal. It is not perfect by any means, but it is a bold step toward truly reforming how our federal government does business. It protects our seniors, pays down our national debt, puts us on a responsible path to prosperity and repeals ObamaCare. I would vote for Rep. Ryan’s plan. ... For Mrs. Wilson to punt on such an important issue is disappointing, and unfortunately consistent with her record.” [Santa Fe New Mexican, 7/14/11]

WILSON SILENT ON PLAN TO END MEDICARE:
Wilson Continued to Sidestep Ryan Budget Questions. In an interview with POLITICO, Wilson continued to sidestep questions about House Finance Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s 2012 budget plan that would end Medicare in its current form. Wilson praised Ryan “for his efforts” but also pointed out that she disagreed with portions of his blueprint. “I'm not in the House of Representatives. This is not something that I have to vote on. I don't agree with some of the things in his budget plan. There are a lot of things in there that cause some concern,” Wilson said. [POLITICO, 7/8/11]

July 15, 2011 at 11:15 AM in 2012 NM Senate Race, Healthcare, Heather Wilson, John Sanchez, Republican Party, Senior Citizens, Taxes | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Doña Ana County Seniors Call on Steve Pearce to Oppose Medicare Cuts

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Contributing writer Stephen Jones checks in with more on-the-ground coverage from Southern New Mexico.

A determined group of Doña Ana County senior citizens and retirees called on Congressman Steve Pearce (R-CD2) at his Las Cruces office on Thursday morning. They were there to protest Pearce's vote for the Ryan budget plan, which would end Medicare, and to state their opposition to efforts by Pearce, southern New Mexico's representative in Washington, to slash funding for Medicare and Medicaid. The group met briefly with Eric Layer, Pearce's press secretary, and presented him with a large "return receipt" presented for Pearce's signature. The so-called "return receipt" asks Congressmen who voted for the Ryan plan to return their own government paid health insurance and join seniors on their own "in the private insurance market."

Layer also read a press release, issued by Congressman Pearce to the gathering, which states that claims that "this year’s revenues will be more than enough to cover Social Security and Medicare" even if the debt ceiling is not extended.

Evelyn Erhard, a Las Cruces resident who helped organize Thursday's group, told Layer that she and her husband "would love to support local business," but are unable to do so due to high health care costs. "Even with Medicare we pay $17,000," Erhard said. "I'm glad Congressman Pearce has done well in the oil business," she added, "but I want him to know we are not all in that situation."

"Social Security and Medicare are not part of the deficit problem," said Deanna Barshinger. "They need to be treated separately from the deficit issue. I'm not even speaking for myself here," an emotional Barshinger added, "but I'm thinking of all my neighbors and fellow citizens who depend on Social Security and Medicare to live. We need to have people in Washington stop thinking politics and party and start thinking about people," Barshinger said.

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After the meeting, the outsized "return reciept" was presented to Eric Layer by Chris Cervini, a community activist from Albuquerque who was in Las Cruces as part of an effort to acquaint voters in New Mexico with the national Affordable Care Act. Cervini stressed the importance of protecting Medicare and Medicaid from cuts in Congress. Layer promised to forward a photo of the oversized document to Congressman Pearce, who is in Washington.

Photos by Stephen Jones. To see more posts by Stephen, visit our archive.

July 14, 2011 at 06:48 PM in By Stephen Jones, Contributing Writer, Economy, Populism, Healthcare, Las Cruces, Senior Citizens, Steve Pearce | Permalink | Comments (3)