HEALTHCARE FOR ALL
When it comes to the health of New Mexicans, we must first tackle the devastating pandemic that has consumed our state, country and the entire world. As of the writing of this post, nearly 168,000 New Mexicans have contracted COVID-19 and tragically, over 3,000 have been lost to this illness. It must be the federal government’s number one priority to expedite the delivery of vaccines in a fair manner, first to those most vulnerable to this virus.
Once we defeat the virus, we must examine our healthcare system as a whole. The pandemic showed us that having health insurance can be the difference between life and death. A health insurance system tied to our jobs, fails utterly in a pandemic, when we are laid off through no fault of our own. Without health insurance, people are afraid to get tested and can’t afford to get treated without bankrupting their family.
Healthcare should be a human right, not a privilege. No New Mexican should suffer needlessly due to the burdensome costs of healthcare, yet so many do. The solution is clear. All people in our country can have access to high-quality and affordable healthcare by adopting Medicare for All. This means, just like other successful democracies around the world, each one of us will have universal health care paid for by the federal government. Everybody is in and nobody is out. Our grandparents, our children, our neighbors and teachers-all of us! The current broken system is based upon profit, not care. Medicare for All starts with care and includes:
Coverage for everyone: Medicare for All gives a lifetime enrollment and covers hospital visits, primary care, medical devices, lab services, maternity care, and prescription drugs, vision and dental benefits.
Reining in high insurance and prescription drug costs: No one should have to choose between paying for life-saving prescriptions or paying rent. Medicare for All tackles the underlying problems of skyrocketing prescription drug costs and unfair premiums and allows the federal government to negotiate drug and device prices downward. It will be paid for by federal taxes, shifting some of the money you currently spend on monthly health insurance to the new system.
Eliminating the extra cost to pay for-profit health insurance companies: Healthcare is more expensive here than anywhere in the world, because of the extra cut taken by intermediary private insurance companies. That cost can be eliminated by removing the “middle-man” and having the government pay healthcare providers directly. With a Medicare for All system, the money goes to the local hospitals and people who work in the healthcare industry, not large insurance companies.
A swift transition to the new system because our New Mexico hospitals already accept Medicare: Our improved health care system would build on what is currently in place here in New Mexico. This means that doctors and hospitals who already accept Medicare like Lovelace, Presbyterian, UNMH and the VA could likely continue to accept Medicare. I want you to keep your current doctor and we can make that happen.
Post-pandemic mental health services: We have asked our children to stop their lives and stay at home to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This shared sacrifice is a substantial burden and increases tremendous stress, anxiety, isolation and depression for an entire generation of young people. Our kids need support. Our kids need access to trauma-informed therapy, family therapy and mental health support services. Our family needs therapy and support as well. I will continue and expand federal government funding to provide a major, focused, and coordinated role in mental health and substance use disorder policy. I support funding the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), continued funding through agencies providing services directly including Indian Health Services, Medicare and Medicaid and funding the National Institute of Mental Health.