WASHINGTON – On his weekly radio call, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall today discussed the benefits that New Mexico is already seeing from the Affordable Care Act and shared his thoughts on the Supreme Court's hearing of oral arguments regarding the constitutionality of the law. He also addressed the issue of doping and breakdowns in horseracing following revelations of widespread abuse in the sport in a report by The New York Times.
BELOW ARE HIGHLIGHTS FROM UDALL'S REMARKS:
0:00 – Udall opens the call with an overview of the ways New Mexico is already benefiting from the Affordable Care Act:
"Just in our state, more than 21,000 young adults are now able to stay on their parents' coverage; 555,000 people no longer have to worry about lifetime limits on their coverage; and new rules mean that 406,000 people with private insurance coverage will receive greater value for their premium dollars."
0:55 – Udall details the benefits that seniors have already received from the Affordable Care Act:
"Nearly 20,000 New Mexico seniors received a $250 rebate to cover Medicare's prescription drug donut hole in 2010 and nearly 19,000 seniors got a 50% discount on prescription drugs when they hit the donut hole in 2011. All in all, seniors in New Mexico have saved more than $9 million on prescription drugs so far and nearly 200,000 seniors have received free preventive services, such as mammograms or colonoscopies, thanks to the new law."
1:55 – Udall addresses a New York Times report on doping in horseracing and details legislation he has introduced to tackle the problem:
"Our bill would set minimum anti-doping standards and kick cheaters out of the sport. The horseracing industry has promised voluntary reforms for decades, but the abuse has only gotten worse. This legislation is the only viable way to address doping problems plaguing the sport."
4:45 – Udall responds to a question regarding the individual mandate provision in the Affordable Care Act and if it was originally a Republican idea:
"If you look back 10 and 15 and 20 years, the original idea came out of Republican think tanks. We also know that when Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts, and they got the law passed there, which has been kind of a model for how to get everyone covered under the health care system."
8:55 – Udall responds to a question about Los Alamos' voluntary separation plan:
"This voluntary separation plan is obviously a lot better than a pink slip or getting laid off. But it's a difficult situation... Many of these people serve the laboratory and the nation and New Mexico in very important ways and they should be thanked for stepping forward and agreeing to voluntary separations."
11:35 – Udall responds to a question about New Mexico's health insurance exchanges:
"The state has a real choice here... They can choose to go forward with setting up an exchange or they can not do that and then the federal government, under the law, comes in and sets up the exchange... If we have New Mexicans working on a New Mexico exchange, I think it will work better for New Mexicans, but obviously this is a choice for the governor and ultimately there will be an exchange — it just depends on who's going to set it up."