U.S. Senator Tom Udall has joined the Senate in voting 92-8 for a measure that will extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which ensures thousands of New Mexico children can get health care, and reform the federal government’s system for reimbursing physicians who provide health care to seniors and the disabled under Medicare. The bill provides a permanent solution for the Medicare repayment system, a formula that has for many years needed to be adjusted annually with temporary fixes. Udall released the following statement:
“The Children’s Health Insurance Program helps nearly 10,000 New Mexico kids access reliable health care, and families need assurance that this affordable lifeline is here to stay. This bill is a bipartisan compromise that gives us that certainty for two more years. But it is far from perfect — two years isn’t nearly enough. I supported amendments to extend CHIP for a full four years and to invest in important women’s health programs so more New Mexicans can access the care they need. My Saving Our Next Generation (SONG) Act would strengthen CHIP and increase our investments in other proven child well-being programs. All children deserve access to quality health care, and I’ll keep working to make this a reality.
“Despite its shortcomings, this bill does make progress in a number of important areas. It extends several programs New Mexicans rely on, including diabetes care, funding for community health centers, payments to counties containing national forests through the Secure Rural Schools program, and infant home visiting. And it permanently reforms the Medicare payment system. This reform finally ends the years of uncertainty that seniors, physicians and health care providers have felt each year while they waited to see whether Congress would prevent cuts to the formula payments caused by the broken reimbursement system. This is a important and long-overdue step.”