Over the past week I’ve reached out to New Mexicans from across the state on social media via community social media groups to hear what average New Mexicans think about Obamacare. I’ve also paid close attention to southern New Mexico, my community, and elected officials in my area. Congressman Pearce’s office sent us a statement, and a couple of state Representatives weighed in as well.
“[The repeal and replace plan] needs work,” said Jean S. from Las Cruces. Fellow Las Cruces resident Bryan S. agreed, “It’s a good start. Let’s improve in the next 2 phases. Study hard, replace once.” Meanwhile, Joseph B. stated, that the replacement was a “Failure of leadership.”
On the west part of the state, Truth or Consequences residents weighed in, “The replacement is a bad joke. Rewards the wealthy and penalizes the elderly, poor, and ill. Big surprise,” said Barbara B.
“Can’t wait for [Obamacare] to disappear,” said Loretta H., of Truth or Consequences, and fellow Sierra County resident Todd T. proclaimed, “Obama and Obamacare are some of the worst things in our county!!”
Other Truth or Consequences residents expressed their frustration at seeing Congress tamper with healthcare, “Glad to finally have healthcare after not having it for so long due to not being able to afford it. And extra thankful it covered most of an emergency appendix removal last year,” Moshe K. explained, “I’m so tired of politicians playing games with our lives. And so tired of having to find a new company every few years because Republicans and Democrats keep fighting among themselves to make themselves & their friends richer.”
Silver City residents also shared their thoughts and frustration at the high prices for healthcare, “All I know is my costs have skyrocketed, and my coverage is very poor under Obamacare. ‘Affordable healthcare act’ is an oxymoron,” said Joseph G. Another Silver City resident, Tessa B., declared that the Obamacare replacement plan was good, “My family pays $400 a month for health insurance. Plus copays. It’s very unaffordable for middle-class families. It’s left me choosing between medical treatment and prescriptions or feeding my family. No American should have to choose that.”
Sam D. of Otero County also shared his opinion on the Obamacare “repeal and replacement,” Can you stand by and see the [Republican] party that passed 2 repeal bills for Obama care, [but] refuse to repeal it now?” Sam continued, “RINO= Repeal in Name Only. They only wanted to change the beneficiaries to their pals and don’t [care].
We also contacted most state Representatives in southern New Mexico, and heard back from a handful– some of whom we were unable to interview by press time due to the busy legislative session, “Considering that over 40% of our state is dependent on government assistance for health care, I could not support abolishing ACA without some replacement plan,” said Republican State Representative Rebecca Dow (HD 38, Truth or Consequences), “It’s clear that we need massive reform to save state dollars and to remove the heavy burden that has been placed on business and those paying for private insurance. I’ll be paying close attention.”
Another southwestern state Representative responded, “I think people are awaiting more information on how the changes will affect them,” said Democrat state Representative Candie Sweetser (HD 32, Deming), “So much remains unknown at this time, and most of us are simply concerned with how our coverage will be affected and how much it will cost us.”
Congressman Pearce also shared a lengthy statement, “It is no question that we need to repeal Obamacare. I’ve heard from many people in the district who are unable to afford health care coverage due to skyrocketing premiums and increasing deductibles.
The proposed House Republican plan does more to amend Obamacare rather than provide a full repeal and replacement plan. It continues many of the same mandates that have driven costs up, making insurance coverage unaffordable, and often times, health care inaccessible. For New Mexico, this type of plan will only maintain the unstable and costly health care marketplace we have today.
The American people are asking Congress to work together to fix our nation’s health care and establish a suitable health care system that delivers affordability and accessibility to Americans.”
I certainly feel like I can relate to Tessa in Silver City. I’m healthy and don’t need healthcare, yet my premiums are nearly $200/mo (before the tax credit), which forces me to pay thousands of dollars a year for something I don’t need (sure, I could just pay the fine, but I sign up for the insurance based on principle). This year, since I’ve reached the “magical” 26th birthday I’m no longer carried on my parent’s insurance and get to pay my own insurance. It’s not fair to fine young people and force us to pay for something we don’t need, just because of a government mandate. Because of the economic injustice and government control that Obamacare has brought, I completely oppose any portion of Obamacare and support a complete repeal, opposed to a partial repeal, or “Ryancare” as the new plan has been dubbed by many on the right.
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