Commentary: This week the Trump administration announced that it agrees with a federal judge in Texas that the entire Affordable Care Act should be invalidated. Overturning the ACA would impact tens of millions of people who rely on the nine-year-old law for health insurance; in New Mexico, hundreds of thousands of residents would have their healthcare coverage stripped away.
In a significant change of course, on Monday night, President Trump’s Justice Department notified the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, where an appeal is pending in the case, Texas v. United States, that it would file a legal brief arguing that the entire act should be struck down as unconstitutional. A coalition of states is appealing the ruling and asking the appellate court to uphold the ACA.
“It’s shocking that President Trump and the Department of Justice intend to rip away access to healthcare for millions of people across the U.S. and hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans,” said William Townley, attorney with the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty. “Overturning the Affordable Care Act would damage the entire healthcare system, especially for low-income families. Healthcare coverage will become unaffordable for many New Mexicans, pricing them out of the healthcare system and blocking access to medical care.”
The Affordable Care Act provides coverage for hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans. An immediate termination of coverage for so many people has far-reaching and possibly irrevocable consequences in New Mexico.
- Nearly 300,000 New Mexicans would lose their healthcare coverage through Medicaid expansion or coverage they’ve purchased on the Health Insurance Exchange;
- Young adults would no longer be able to stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26;
- Small business would lose tax credits that make it affordable to provide healthcare for their employees;
- Insurance companies would be allowed to deny coverage for those who are suffering from pre-existing conditions; and
- New Mexico’s economy would be threatened—Medicaid expansion has provided financial security for over 250,000 adults and has brought in federal funding that directly supports healthcare jobs and the healthcare sector overall.
“Healthcare coverage is a lifeline for millions of people across the country,” said Townley. “We should be finding ways to improve access to quality and affordable care rather than making devastating cuts to healthcare.”
The New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty is dedicated to advancing economic and social justice through education, advocacy, and litigation. We work with low-income New Mexicans to improve living conditions, increase opportunities, and protect the rights of people living in poverty.