KUNM

Senate Health Bill Could Impact Older New Mexicans

Jun 28, 2017

This week the Congressional Budget Office released its report on the Senate bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. It found a number of impacts for older Americans. Those changes could be felt particularly hard in New Mexico.

With an aging population, advocates and policy analysts say New Mexico could face significant challenges if the health care bill passes the Senate.

"There is a greying of America, but there’s a disproportionate greying of New Mexico," said DeAnza Valencia with the New Mexico chapter of the American Association of Retired People. "That makes us even more at risk for changes that will hurt people over 50 with this bill. We are really bracing for impact should this bill become law."

Valencia says what’s most concerning about the Senate version of the bill is a cut to the tax that underwrites Medicare, on top of cuts to Medicaid. Many older New Mexicans get health coverage from a combination of those two programs.

The Congressional Budget Office analysis says the Senate bill would also drive up prescription drug costs and allow insurance companies to charge older Americans five times more than young people for coverage.