A new report on health issues and trends in Colorado shows the state’s uninsured rate remaining at about six percent of the population, down from 16 percent before the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.
But high costs and uncertainty still pervade numerous facets of Colorado’s healthcare landscape, causing many not to access health care.
The gains identified in the biennial report, called the Colorado Health Access Survey and conducted by the Colorado Health Institute since 2009, are threatened by a lawsuit aiming to overturn Obamacare, said Adam Fox,
Director of Strategic Engagement for the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, in a news release.
The lawsuit, filed by Republican leaders in 18 states, argues that Congress undermined its authority to enact Affordable Care Act when it eliminated the penalty for people who don’t have health insurance.
“While Colorado’s uninsured rate is holding steady for now, the Texas vs. Azar court case, if successful, could unravel our health care system and strip health coverage from hundreds of thousands of Coloradans that have gained insurance.
“This survey from the Colorado Health Institute shows sustained positive effects on coverage of the Affordable Care Act,” said Fox. “In 2011, 16 percent of our residents were uninsured. Now, with an uninsured rate of just 6.5 percent that has held steady since 2015, over 600,000 Coloradans have health coverage thanks to the ACA.”
But both Fox and the report’s authors pointed to problems in Colorado’s healthcare system, mostly related to escalating costs and decreased access for those with lower incomes.
“Five years after key provisions of the landmark law took effect, there are concerning signs that progress has begun to reverse for many Coloradans,” states the Colorado Health Institute, a Denver-based nonprofit that focuses on health policy and research, in the report. “More people are foregoing care due to cost, having a hard time paying medical bills, and citing the high cost of health insurance as a reason they are uninsured.”
Fox made a similar point.
“There’s a lot to be done to make insurance affordable for the many Coloradans who have been left behind,” said Fox. “Almost 90 percent of the uninsured say medical insurance is simply too expensive, that they can’t afford the still-pricey premiums. Reductions in insurance rates for 2020 will help some, but we still have work to do.”