Rule of Law

NM Legislators Message To U.S. Supreme Court: Support Health Reform Law

LAS CRUCES (KRWG) – Sen. Dede Feldman (D- Bernalillo) and nine other NM state legislators joined with 480 state legislators from 50 states today in filing an Amicus (Friend of the Court) Brief with the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

The announcement comes as the Supreme Court is set to consider the constitutionality of the health law in the coming weeks. Judges from across the ideological spectrum have already upheld the Affordable Care Act as constitutional, including judges appointed by Presidents George W. Bush ad Ronald Regan.

“The challenge to the Affordable Care Act now before the Supreme Court clearly has a lot more to do with politics than it has to do with the Constitution,” said Sen. Feldman “Not only is the Affordable Care Act the law of the land as upheld by judges from across the ideological spectrum, it is also clearly working for New Mexico families.”

Feldman said that the state had received over $136 million to support health care in New Mexico as a result of the law. The funding has created new jobs around the state at school based health centers, training programs for nurses and physicians assistants, prevention and public health programs, home visiting for new mothers and community health centers. Over 800 people with pre-existing medical conditions who would not have had access to health insurance are now insured through a federal high-risk pool. Approximately 12,000 New Mexico seniors got a discount on their prescription drugs totaling a savings to them of $5.7 million (the average discount was $444.47). 21,456 young adults became insured because the new law allows them to join their parents’ insurance plan.

Premium increases are now receiving more scrutiny from the Department of Insurance and companies can no longer limit annual coverage for those with expensive conditions like cancer.

“This has been a huge boost to our state, which has the second highest number of uninsured and some of the high premiums for those who do have insurance as a result” she said.

“That’s in addition to the national benefits,” she said.

Nationwide, over one million young adults across the nation now have health insurance, over 4 million seniors have received help with the cost of prescription drugs, and insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, drop your coverage because you get sick, or limit the amount of coverage you can receive in a lifetime.

“Those are some of the reasons why I am defending the Affordable Care Act for all New Mexico families by signing this brief, and why I will continue to work in the coming weeks, months, and years to implement the law in the most effective way for our state,” Feldman said.

The show of support for the Affordable Care Act in New Mexico is part of a larger demonstration of support for the law across the nation this week, as over 480 state legislators representing 50 states signed on to the Amicus Brief defending the law. The brief will be filed this Friday and was prepared in conjunction with the Working Group of State Legislators for Health Reform (a national group of state legislators working to advance health reform and implement the Affordable Care Act), Progressive States Network, and the Constitutional Accountability Center.

A summary of the Amicus Brief is available at:

Other New Mexico legislators who signed on in support of the brief are Rep. Gail Chasey, Rep. Eleanor Chavez, Sen. Mary Jane Garcia, Rep. Miguel Garcia, Sen. Cisco McSorley, Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino, Rep. Al Park, Rep. Mimi Stewart and Sen. Peter Wirth.