Congressman Luján believes that all Americans should have access to affordable, quality health care. From his seat on the House Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health, Congressman Luján advocates for increasing access to health care, reducing health disparities, improving the behavioral health system, and combatting the opioid crisis in New Mexico and across the nation.
Building the Affordable Care Act
For too long, New Mexico ranked high on the list of the uninsured. As a result of the Affordable Care Act, the number of uninsured New Mexicans has fallen, giving thousands of families the peace of mind that they are no longer one illness or one accident away from financial ruin. Rep. Luján supported the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and has since opposed House Republican attempts to repeal or undermine health care reform. If the Affordable Care Act is entirely or even partially repealed, 183,000 New Mexicans who have gained coverage through the Affordable Care Act could lose their coverage. Moving forward, Rep. Luján believes that Congress should work in a bipartisan effort to strengthen the law and make improvements that will further lower costs and increase access to care for New Mexicans and the American people.
The Congressman introduced the Medicaid Public Option Act, known as Medicaid Buy-In, to expand the availability of low-cost, high-quality health plans to all Americans. The legislation would create a Medicaid-based public health care option on the insurance marketplace.
Combating the Opioid Crisis
One of the Congressman's longtime priorities is been ensuring communities in New Mexico and across the country have the resources they need to fight the opioid epidemic. The bipartisan opioids package that was signed into law in 2018 contained multiple bills authored by Congressman, including measures increasing substance use provider capacity in Medicaid, drug management programs for at-risk beneficiaries in Medicare and Medicaid, and improved guidance for infants with neonatal abstinence syndrome and their moms. While the legislative package was important progress, the Congressman believes we have more work to do and will continue fighting for federal resources to ensure people suffering from substance use disorder have increased access to prevention, treatment, and recovery services.
Increased Access to Behavioral Health Services in New Mexico
When the State of New Mexico unnecessarily suspended payments to 15 behavioral health providers, vulnerable New Mexicans experienced disruptions in services, and providers were forced to close their doors. In response, Rep. Luján introduced legislation to protect access to vital services and ensure continuity of care. The Medicaid Program Integrity Enhancement Act protects Medicaid patients by establishing clear guidelines that ensure state agencies investigating allegations of fraud do so in a manner that both protects health care consumers and affords due process of law to the health care provider.
In an effort to prioritize state investments in behavioral health systems, Rep. Luján introduced the Behavioral Health Infrastructure Improvement Act. The bill provides an enhanced Federal Medicaid match for states that invest in and improve their behavioral health infrastructure, data, and access to care for Medicaid patients. The bill also provides grants for states to create an office of behavioral health assistance or behavioral health ombudsman.
Rep. Luján also introduced the Peer Support Specialist Act to address the significant shortage of mental health professionals across the United States. The bill enhances the peer professional workforce by creating a grant program aimed at developing and providing tuition support for behavioral health paraprofessional training and education programs.
Supporting Medical Research, Innovation, and Cures for Chronic and Deadly Diseases
As a member of the Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health, Rep. Luján was actively engaged in developing the 21st Century Cures Act, which overwhelmingly passed the Congress. This bill allocates $4.8 billion in funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), providing the brightest minds in our country with the support they need to undertake cutting-edge scientific research, and ushering in a new wave of treatments and cures. The bill directs funds toward high-risk, high-reward research and research performed by early stage investigators. It also strengthens NIH’s focus on diversifying the biomedical workforce by requiring it to focus on participation by scientists from underrepresented communities.
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