Katie Reinisch, Pagosa Daily

The House Republican health bill would be particularly harmful to Colorado’s rural communities, according to a new report released this week by the Washington, DC-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. With debate now underway in the Senate, Senators Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet can prevent the bill’s harmful cuts and other changes from ultimately becoming law.

“Colorado’s rural communities already face a lot of challenges, and policymakers in Washington shouldn’t make life harder for the people who live there,” said Adam Fox of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative. “That means our Senators should reject any bill that takes coverage away from people, ends the Medicaid expansion, caps or cuts the program, makes insurance coverage unaffordable, or takes away protections from people with health conditions.”

The House bill would effectively end the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Medicaid expansion, under which 87,000 rural Coloradans have gained coverage. Roughly 21 percent of Coloradans who have gained coverage under the expansion live in rural communities. The Medicaid expansion has also expanded access to substance use disorder treatment at a time when many Colorado rural communities have been ravaged by the opioid crisis.

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