New Mexico is one of many states suffering from an opioid epidemic. Stories about states battling the grips of overdose and the overwhelming instances of treatment, hospitalization, and death of addicts have been the focus of national media lately.
One of the reasons for this focus is because opioid addicts currently receiving treatment and those whose mental health services Medicaid currently subsidizes will see a drop or loss of coverage if AHCA is signed into law. New Mexico ranks high in both overdoses and mental illness cases.
According to a report from the NM Department of Health, between 2013 and 2015, 189,578 New Mexicans reported, “frequent mental distress.” Of those reporting FMD, higher percentages were seen in populations who were also using controlled substances. Numbers were higher in reported cases of FMD and drug use, alcohol abuse, and drug overdose when examining respondent’s level of income.
Due to the correlation between drug use, mental health issues, and level of income, numbers also show that members of our communities struggling with addiction or mental health issues are accessing means of assistance via public healthcare programs like Medicaid.
According to an article published by The Hill, Medicaid is the largest “payer” for addiction and mental health treatment. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) required that all enrollees who were newly eligible under the Medicaid expansion receive access to drug treatment and mental health coverage.
With alarming rates of drug overdose and leading the nation in rates of reported mental illness, New Mexicans will be heavily impacted by a Medicaid rollback, caps on coverage, and loss of coverage altogether. In times of distress, the most vulnerable communities are affected the worst – a Medicaid rollback wouldn’t just hit the most “hard-up” though, it will have a sweepingly negative effect in New Mexico.
New Mexico has approximately 187,000 residents receiving Medicaid benefits, many using new Medicaid benefits to support addiction treatment. Here in New Mexico, the AHCA doesn’t just stand to eliminate 19,00 jobs in the healthcare sector, which it will, to the tune of a $1 billion dollar loss by 2026, it will eliminate access to services that save lives. The need to resist is urgent in this case. In efforts to protect and save the healthcare of all New Mexicans our elected officials need to stand up and fight back.
New Mexico’s two senators were busy last week working with Senate Democrats to introduce the “No Hearing, No Vote Act.” Without this legislation in place, a Republican Senate Majority led by majority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky can vote on their version of a repeal bill, send it to the House for conference and concurrence, and send it to President Trump to sign into law without any committees or hearings.
“No Hearing, No Vote” would require that there be at least one committee vote and one hearing for any bill being passed under “reconciliation,” which is the case in this instance. Passage of “No Hearing, No Vote,” would buy time for the American people as we rely on decision-makers to see the impact that AHCA will have on our communities.
Excerpt from a June 15th statement from Senator Udall’s office:
“The TrumpCare bill that was rushed through the House is indefensible and would be devastating for New Mexico, stripping hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans of health care and taking away critical protections for women, seniors, children, and people with pre-existing conditions, all to give the richest Americans a huge tax break. Patients, rural hospitals, providers, and Tribes who will be affected by this bill.”
New Mexicans and all Americans must be poised and ready to collectively continue to resist AHCA and demand #HealthcareForAll. It truly is a matter of life and death. We will continue to keep you updated on the status of this legislation.