Sen. Gardner should commit to voting no so that there can be a real public debate
DENVER – As predicted, the Senate Republicans’ version of the AHCA, like the unpopular House version, will increase insurance premiums especially for older Coloradans and will destabilize insurance markets. The Senate bill appears to make even deeper cuts to Medicaid, gutting care for children, seniors and people with disabilities, with even harsher caps than the House bill, likely increasing the $14 billion hole in Colorado’s state budget that would have resulted from the House bill. And the bill rolls back important financial assistance provisions that help make insurance more affordable for people who purchase it on their own.
“The Senate version of the AHCA puts window dressing on a bill that is rotten at its core. Almost 600,000 Coloradans gained coverage as a result of the ACA, but this new Senate proposal would have disastrous impacts on both Medicaid and private health insurance coverage statewide,” said Adam Fox of the Protect Our Care Coalition. “In as little as a week, the Senate is likely to vote on this sea change of a policy proposal affecting one-sixth of our economy, with virtually no public process or hearings.”
“There are just days for our Senators to prevent the bill’s harmful cuts and other changes from becoming law. They should reject any bill that takes coverage away from people, ends the Medicaid expansion, caps or cuts the Medicaid program or makes insurance coverage unaffordable,” said Fox.
“Senator Gardner should commit to voting no so that there can be a real public debate. A week does not allow the public process that is needed. Senator Gardner should insist on public hearings over months, hold public town halls, and meet with constituents that could be affected.” Fox concluded.
Leslie Dach, Campaign Director of the national group Protect Our Care, released this statement:
“Senate Republicans promised to start over and write a plan that improves people’s health care. Instead they doubled down on the failed House repeal approach that puts everyone’s health care last, and tax breaks for the wealthy first. The heartless Senate health care repeal bill makes health care worse for everyone – it raises costs, cuts coverage, weakens protections and cuts even more from Medicaid than the mean House bill. They wrote their plan in secret and are rushing forward with a vote next week because they know how much harmful their bill does to millions of people.”
Some impacts on Colorado:
Currently we have an uninsured rate of 6.7% – under this new health care system that is bound to skyrocket back to numbers we haven’t seen since before the ACA.
Kaiser Family Foundation estimated that, pre-ACA, 22% of non-elderly Colorado adults, or 753,000 individuals, had a pre-existing condition — common health issues such as rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease and diabetes. Under this proposal, insurers may charge sicker people higher premiums.
Colorado has 24 rural counties and 23 frontier counties*. These areas will be disproportionately affected by the implementation of the AHCA – many already have few insurance carriers and expensive health premiums.
Medicaid covers 182,000 individuals in rural Colorado, or approximately 26% of the rural population.
Colorado’s state budget cannot take the more than $14 billion estimated cut under the AHCA.
Protect Our Care Colorado is a coalition of 44 organizations in Colorado advocating to protect the health care of Coloradans. To learn more the coalition, visit ProtectOurCareCo.org.