Trevor Reid, Greeley Tribune

Health care costs commanded Greeley Rep. Dave Young’s town hall meeting on Saturday, from a potential repeal of the federal Affordable Care Act to a bill that would likewise eliminate Colorado’s healthcare exchange.

About 30 people attended the meeting at North Range Behavioral Health Clinic, 1300 N. 17th Ave. Young started the meeting with a presentation by Adam Fox, the director of strategic engagement for Colorado Consumer Health Initiative. Fox focused on Senate Bill 3, which would repeal Colorado’s health benefit exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, the state-based health insurance marketplace. By working at the state level, Fox explained, Connect for Health Colorado has been more responsive to the health care needs of Coloradans. Fox said a repeal seems unlikely, but it could have serious implications.

“I think it faces a very uphill battle … but I think it’s important to know that these efforts are happening at the state level and they could have a really big impact on how Coloradans access health insurance,” he said.

Fox discussed the Affordable Care Act, through which 500,000 Coloradans get direct coverage. According to a flyer from Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, repealing the Affordable Care Act would cost the U.S. roughly $350 billion through 2027.

House Republicans on Thursday at the nation’s capitol released a health policy brief outlining the plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The brief includes turning Medicaid into a per capita cap program or a block grant program. Block grants allow the federal government to pay a fixed amount per state per year. Per capita caps limit the federal government to pay a fixed amount per beneficiary per state. The federal government pays at least 50 percent of Colorado’s total Medicaid costs today.

“Either way, it would really limit our state’s ability to respond to the health needs of our population and really blow a giant hole in our state budget,” Fox said.

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