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Colorado Dems vow to fight hard for Obamacare in wake of Texas ruling

December 17, 2018, 10:23 pm

Colorado Democrats are vowing to vigorously fight for Obamacare in the wake of a Texas judge’s ruling late last week that every facet of the Affordable Care Act, including its popular protections for preexisting conditions, are unconstitutional.

“The judge’s decision on the Affordable Care Act is wrong, legally and morally. It must be reversed,” Colorado Attorney General-elect Phil Weiser said in an email statement. “Just as I promised on the campaign trail, I will join the appeal to stand up for the ACA.”

The ACA remains the law of the land for 2019 – meaning anyone still in need of health insurance for the coming year should still sign up at Connect for Health Colorado by the Jan. 15 deadline. But the law’s fate now hinges on appeals and a possible U.S. Supreme Court decision.

Because Colorado has its own exchange, people seeking individual or small-group coverage by Feb. 1 can sign up until Jan. 15. The deadline for Jan. 1 coverage was Dec. 15, and 156,101 Coloradans signed up by then – an increase of 5 percent over the same period last year.

“For years, Republicans have tried to dismantle the Affordable Care Act,” Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet said via email. “After trying and failing over 70 times to repeal the bill without offering a replacement, Republicans added a provision to last year’s disastrous tax bill to sabotage the individual mandate, providing the argument used in the Texas court’s ruling.”

Enrollment in the ACA is down more than 10 percent nationally – due in part to the stripping out of the law’s individual mandate in the Republican tax reform bill of 2017. Surveys show a majority of Americans support Obamacare, which factored into the recent midterm elections.

“The ACA is not perfect, but it has provided health care coverage to millions of Coloradans and Americans with preexisting conditions and coverage for essential health benefits,” Bennet said. “Republicans should abandon their efforts to attack the ACA and instead work with Democrats to fix its flaws, so that we can provide quality, affordable health care coverage to every American.”

President Donald Trump called the ruling by federal Judge Reed O’Connor of Texas in favor of 20 Republican state attorneys general and GOP officials a “victory” that will force Democrats to negotiate a replacement.

“We’ll be sitting down with the Democrats and we will get great health care for our people; that’s a repeal and replace, handled a bit differently,” Trump said, according to Axios.

Colorado healthcare advocates say they’ll keep fighting for the existing law, which has gained traction in many parts of the state.

“This unprecedented attack and irresponsibleRepublican lawsuit is the biggest threat for consumers in the Trump Administration’s relentless efforts to sabotage the ACA,” said Adam Fox, director of strategic engagement for the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative.

“This court case could strip more than 600,000 Coloradans of the health coverage they need, throw the insurance market into chaos, and leave our state budget in crisis. Lives are at stake in this court case,” Fox added.

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is the editor and co-founder of RealVail.com and has had his awarding-winning work (see About Us) published in more than 75 newspapers and magazines around the world, including 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), the Anchorage Daily Press (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Boulder Daily Camera, the Casper Star Tribune (Wyoming), the Chicago Tribune, Colorado Central Magazine, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Newsline, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Cortez Journal, the Craig Daily Press, the Curry Coastal Pilot (Oregon), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Del Norte Triplicate (California), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Gazette, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, Explore Big Sky (Mont.), the Fort Morgan Times (Colorado), the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), the Kingman Daily Miner (Arizona), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the Las Vegas Sun, the Leadville Herald-Democrat, the London Daily Mirror, the Moab Times Independent (Utah), the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), the Montrose Daily Press, The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, the Rio Blanco Herald Times (Colorado), Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), the Salt Lake Tribune, SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Sky-Hi News, the Steamboat Pilot & Today, the Sterling Journal Advocate (Colorado), the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Health Magazine, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail, Westword (Denver), Writers on the Range and the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

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