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Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham

Representing the 1st District of New Mexico

Health Care

Rep. Lujan Grisham visits patients at the Veteran Affairs Hospital in Albuquerque, NM (February 2018)

Our health care system is failing American families

We have an obligation to come together and address the two main issues in our health care system: cost and coverage. Read my op-ed in the Albuquerque Journal.

In the meantime, we must continue to defend and improve the ACA

I have opposed efforts to undermine or repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which would destabilize our health care system and put millions of Americans at risk.

In May 2017, the House passed the American Health Care Act in an attempt to repeal the ACA. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that the bill would have led to 24 million more uninsured Americans by 2026. It also would have cut Medicaid by $834 billion over ten years and raised premiums by 15-20% this year. While the Senate fortunately voted down full ACA repeal, Congress repealed the individual mandate in its tax reform bill late last year. The CBO estimates that this repeal will increase premiums by 10% and will increase the number of uninsured Americans by 13 million by 2027.

Rather than continued efforts to undermine the ACA, the American people deserve a substantive, bipartisan debate about how to improve our health care system. It is time for both parties to come together and work to lower costs, increase access, and improve quality. I am open to any proposal that promotes these goals, including an expansion of the Medicare program. While we work toward these goals, I am acutely aware of the need to invest in our health care infrastructure, build a workforce development pipeline for health care providers, and protect the gains made as a result of the ACA’s Medicaid expansion. I believe that there are a several ways to achieve those goals, and I remain open to a broad range of solutions.

Long-Term Care

As a caregiver for my mother, I know that improving long-term care is not only a health issue. It's an economic issue, it's a jobs issue, it's a dignity and quality of life issue. Solving the looming long-term care crisis is also a way to protect and strengthen the economic security of women and minorities, who often end up becoming caregivers for their families. Roughly 70 percent of Americans turning age 65 will require long term supports and services at some point in their life, and very few Americans have the financial means to cover costs associated with that care. Our country has a moral and fiscal obligation to address the challenges we face in financing care for our aging and disabled population.

Care Corps Demonstration Act

By 2030, there will be more than 72 million older Americans, making up 19% of the total population. As they age, many of these seniors will require long-term supports and services, placing a huge burden on a fragmented system that is already struggling to provide and finance care for current seniors and individuals with disabilities who want to remain independent and receive services in their homes and communities.

Currently, the vast majority of care is provided by family caregivers; more than 40 million Americans provide more than $470 billion in care to seniors and adults with disabilities every year. These caregivers fill a critical void, often because the lack of access to affordable services gives them no other choice. Many of those who need care cannot afford to pay for the services that would help them remain independent, but they have just enough money to be ineligible for Medicaid and the support services it would provide. Their family members pitch in to fill in the gaps where they can, keeping their loved ones out of high-cost nursing homes. These family caregivers often develop ailments of their own and need outside support to ensure that they can live healthy, productive lives and continue caring for their loved ones.
At the same time, there simply aren’t enough family caregivers to meet the growing need. In 2010, there were seven potential caregivers for every person over the age of 80. By 2030, that ratio is projected to drop by almost half, to 4:1. In the paid workforce, more than 4 million direct care workers provide long term supports and services to individuals in need already. But there, too, demand is projected to grow so that the U.S. will need to add more than 1 million more direct care workers over the next ten years.
Meanwhile, our economy continues to feel the effects of the Great Recession. Many young people are unemployed or underemployed, while other workers are retraining for more in-demand fields.
These are national challenges that require a national solution: Care Corps.
The Care Corps Demonstration Act:
  • Authorizes grants for local Care Corps programs at $10 million per year over five years.
  • Places Corps volunteers in communities where they will provide services that help seniors and individuals with disabilities remain independent.
  • Provides volunteers with health insurance and other benefits during their time of service, along with an educational award that can be used to pay education costs or loans.
  • Creates an opportunity for intergenerational relationships.

Affordable Care Act Resources

Benefits of the Affordable Care Act

Important Resources

  • New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange (NMHIX) — New Mexico chose to create its own insurance marketplace where individuals and business can shop for health insurance, apply for financial assistance, and receive help filling out forms and assessing options.  You can also shop the marketplace by calling 1-855-99-NMHIX (1-855-996-6449).   For this year, individuals in New Mexico can use to shop and sign up for health insurance. 
  • Find Local Help — To find enrollment assistance and understand your health insurance options, make an appointment with an Enrollment Counselor or a registered New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange agent or broker near you. 
  • Indian Health Care — The Affordable Care Act includes special provisions for American Indians. 
  • Small Businesses — The New Mexico Small business Health Options Program (SHOP) simplifies the process of buying insurance for small businesses and their employees.
  • Medicare — The Affordable Care Act expanded Medicare benefits, including free preventative services and, if you are in the prescription drug “donut hole”, discounts on brand-name prescription drugs.
  • Medicaid — New Mexico has expanded its Medicaid program to cover households with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level. That works out to about $16,750 a year for 1 person or $34,600 for a family of 4.  If you're eligible, you get free or low-cost care.
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program — The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides health coverage to nearly 9 million children in families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid, but too low to afford private coverage. The Affordable Care Act strengthened CHIP by providing additional funding and maintaining CHIP’s eligibility standards.

Want More Information?

  • 1-800-318-2596 (TTY 1-855-889-4325)
    • Customer Service available 24/7

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