Bingaman on Health Care Reform

Bingaman on Health Care Reform

POSTED: Sunday, March 21, 2010 - 8:48pm

UPDATED: Sunday, March 21, 2010 - 11:18pm

New Mexico - Sen. Jeff Bingaman says New Mexico has a lot to gain from the health care bill.

°For years our health care system has been broken. New Mexicans have been forced to pay increasingly higher insurance premiums -- in some cases only to learn that their coverage is very limited or that they have been dropped for a preexisting condition, Bingaman said. "Hundreds of thousands more New Mexicans have had to live without insurance, putting their health and their families financial stability at risk.

Congress has been talking about fixing our health care system for decades. Indeed, we have made adjustments around the edges, but they haven't fixed the problem. Premiums have continued to rise, health care costs have spiraled out of control and quality care has suffered, Bingaman said.

°The legislation Congress has passed and can now send to the president contains the help New Mexico families need, Bingaman said. "It will help contain rising costs, improve the quality of care, expand coverage to the uninsured and do so in a way that significantly reduces our national deficit. This is a very good bill for New Mexico and the country."

Bingaman pointed out that right now, the cost of health insurance is rising faster than many American families can keep up. In New Mexico, health insurance premiums for an average family have risen from $6,000 in 2000 to $11,000 in 2006 and they are projected to rise faster than any other state to an unsustainable $28,000 by 2016.

About 50 million Americans lack access to health insurance; roughly one-quarter of New Mexico residents are uninsured, the second highest percentage in the nation. New Mexico also has the highest percentage of uninsured workers.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act approved today aims to contain rising health care costs while extending affordable health insurance to millions of Americans.

As the only Democrat serving on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, Bingaman played a unique role in crafting the legislation with an eye toward meeting New Mexico's needs. When the bills are enacted, Bingaman estimates that as many as 96% of New Mexicans will have health insurance.

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