New Mexicans react to Supreme Court health care decision
Posted at: 06/28/2012 6:54 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4
New Mexico political leaders are split along party lines in their reactions to the U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding President Barack Obama's health care initiative.
The state's senior U.S. Senator, Jeff Bingaman, said the ruling is good for New Mexico.
"For New Mexicans who have insurance, this law will keep health care costs from spiraling out of control," Bingaman said. "For New Mexicans who do not have insurance, this law offers affordable coverage to them."
Bingaman helped write the massive piece of legislation.
But New Mexico's lone Republican in Congress, Rep. Steve Pearce, says he still considers the law unconstitutional.
"We don't need the job-killers that it creates, we don't need the taxes," Pearce said. "People are struggling just to make ends meet. Overall I think the Supreme Court just laid it back at our doorstep, that we are going to have to repeal this, the largest tax increase in American history."
In Albuquerque, Democrats rallied with labor leaders and health care advocates to praise the Court's decision.
"Today is a wonderful victory, especially here in New Mexico where we have so many people without insurance," said state Sen. Dede Feldman, an Albuquerque Democrat. "It is a victory for people all across the country, millions of them who have cancer, who have diabetes, who have asthma."
Republican Governor Susana Martinez agreed with Pearce that Congress should repeal the law and replace it with something better.
"I don't think raising taxes on New Mexico when we're struggling and trying to turn the corner, and raising taxes on middle class families is a good thing to do right now," she said.
Martinez said some parts of the law are good, like coverage for pre-existing conditions, and coverage for college-age kids.
Rep. Martin Heinrich, a Democrat running for Bingaman's soon-to-be vacant Senate seat, said the Court made a good ruling.
"This decision means New Mexicans will continue to benefit from expanded access to quality, affordable health care," Udall said.
His Republican opponent, former Rep. Heather Wilson, said the health care act is a symbol of what's wrong with Washington.
"It grows the size of government, kills jobs, raises taxes, and makes Washington more involved in our lives," Wilson said.
In the race for Congress in New Mexico's 1st Congressional District, Republican Janice Arnold-Jones said she was disappointed with the decision.
"This historic policy blunder limits the choices of the American consumer, penalizes small businesses and those who work, and continues this administration's massive government over-reach," the former state lawmaker said.
Her opponent, Democratic Bernalillo County Commissioner Michelle Lujan Grisham, called the ruling a victory.
"Insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to people with asthma, cancer of heart disease, or force women to pay more for health care," Lujan Grisham said. "This is a good first step toward reforming our broken health care system."