Jason Salzman, Colorado Times Recorder

At a news conference today to mark the tenth anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, health care advocates pointed out that without Obamacare, about 2.4 million Coloradans, who have pre-existing conditions would not be guaranteed access to health insurance.

The ACA requires insurance companies to offer health insurance plans to people with pre-existing conditions.

That’s important today, say advocates, because the coronavirus is particularly dangerous to people with underlying conditions–people who did not have guaranteed access to health insurance before the passage of the national health care law ten years ago.

“For ten years, the ACA has ensured that Coloradans, including the 2.4 million who live with a pre-existing condition, have access to quality, affordable health care,” said Olga Robak with Protect Our Care Colorado, a progressive advocacy group. “People across Colorado depend on the ACA, and now more than ever, as the United States grapples with the spread of the coronavirus, we must all work to protect our health care against partisan attacks.”

“It has really set us up to be able to deal with this pandemic that all of us in medicine knew was coming at some point,” said State Rep. Yadira Caraveo, a doctor from Thornton. “Unfortunately, we weren’t completely ready for it, but we would have been in a much tougher spot if the ACA would have never been implemented.”

Robak repeated her organization’s call for Republicans, including Trump and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), to drop their efforts to eliminate the ACA. One such effort is a lawsuit brought by GOP state attorneys general that is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, with a decision expected later this year.

“If the ACA is struck down, it will only deepen the fallout of health crises like the current pandemic and any that follow,” said Adam Fox, Director of Strategic Engagement at Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, who joined today’s news conference. “Rural hospitals that operate on thin margins would face closure. Millions of Americans across the country would lose health coverage as it is eliminated, becomes entirely unaffordable, or they lose consumer protections they need. 1-in-5 Coloradans already delay or avoid care because of costs. The risks of the lawsuit that threatens the ACA have always been extreme, but the coronavirus lays bare how important it is to sustain the law, and the frightening consequences if it is struck down.”

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