Healthcare has been an issue of high interest on the national stage with the passing of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and the question of how the election will affect the bill. This issue has also been in the forefront in state races as well. In the race in the First Congressional District in New Mexico, contenders Janice Arnold-Jones and Michelle Lujan Grisham offer their views on healthcare and ways to fix the system. Although the two opponents don’t see eye to eye on many things, they both see healthcare as an important issue in New Mexico.
Janice Arnold-Jones argues that the conversation surrounding healthcare focuses on the logistics of insurance rather than healthcare itself. She supports some of the ACA’s points however she told the Albuquerque Journal, “What concerns me most is that instead of providing more access (to care), I believe the overall effect will be to provide more paperwork. My goal is healthcare.” The candidate believes a common sense approach can be used to improve the system instead of passing a massive piece of legislation that no one fully understands. Her methods for fixing the healthcare system include paying for more public health nurses to increase care to people who don’t have the money to pay for treatments, improve billing procedures and use more advanced technology to better communicate with patients. She believes these measures can start the process of fixing the healthcare system by focusing on the system itself.
On the different side of the aisle, Michelle Lujan Grisham agrees with her opponent when it comes to providing more nurses and updated systems however she believes better healthcare will result from increased education on disease management and preventative measures, early childhood health improvement programs and changing people’s unhealthy behaviors. She argues that government funds should go towards these efforts in order to cut healthcare costs by striving for a healthier society. She explains to the Journal that public health programs are in place for things such as family planning and emergency response however they could put programs in place to work on disease prevention and management, “They certainly can focus on obesity and diabetes, but they don’t. We don’t invest anything in prevention models. There is no monetary investment on things that matter and that are the cheapest thing.” Her approach to cutting costs in healthcare and improving the system focuses on the foundation of education and creating a healthier society.
The two candidates both view healthcare as an important issue especially since approximately 21.6 percent of New Mexicans do not have healthcare. Although the two women both agree about the severity of the issue they remedy it in different ways. It will be interesting to see how the future of healthcare will be molded by not only the outcome of the Presidential election but also the local Congressional election.