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Hickenlooper, relieved Graham-Cassidy is dead, calls for bipartisan ACA fixes

September 26, 2017, 9:06 pm
John Hickenlooper

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper — a relentless champion with Ohio Gov. John Kasich of bipartisan health care reform — on Tuesday expressed his relief that the Graham-Cassidy bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act failed to garner enough Republican votes and finally appears to be dead.

“We are relieved that the Senate has decided to put aside the flawed Graham-Cassidy bill that would have hurt hundreds of thousands of Coloradans,” Hickenlooper said in a prepared statement. “We urge Senate leaders to return to regular order and support bipartisan work to improve our health care system.”

Hickenlooper and Kasich have been touting a bipartisan plan to shore up the flaws in the ACA since late August, and the two governors once again are advocating that approach in the Senate. The Hickenlooper-Kasich plan includes provisions to address skyrocketing health insurance rates in rural areas like Colorado’s Western Slope, where a lack of competition has been devastating.

“We encourage Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray to return to the negotiating table and quickly finalize a package to stabilize the individual insurance market and help make individual health insurance more affordable,” Hickenlooper added. “We stand ready to work with Congress and expand our scope to address the underlying drivers of health care costs.”

Republican Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who in July voted three times to repeal and in some way replace the ACA, does not have to vote again on the controversial GOP push to stop Medicaid expansion and potentially eliminate health insurance for millions of Americans.

“We need to look at every avenue we can to provide relief to the American people from the high costs created by the Affordable Care Act,” Gardner tweeted on Tuesday. He also touted his bill to delay the ACA’s Health Insurance Tax for one year. “My legislation delays a tax that once implemented would lead to even higher costs of care for Coloradans.”

Democratic Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet did not directly address the failure of the GOP’s latest ACA repeal on Twitter Tuesday, instead touting Senate passage of the CHRONIC Act to improve Medicare outcomes and bring down costs.

Progressive health care groups also lauded the failure of Graham-Cassidy bill.

“Colorado would have been devastated by this bill, losing billions in funding for health care programs, and at least 600,000 Coloradans would have lost health insurance,” said Adam Fox, Director of Strategic Engagement of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and Coalition Organizer for the Protect Our Care Colorado (POCC) coalition.

“Members of Congress have hopefully gotten the message loud and clear that irresponsible efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act or gut Medicaid will not be tolerated and will encounter strong resistance from the people they represent,” Fox added.

Small business group pointed to the economic benefits of dumping Graham-Cassidy and fixing the ACA.

“Had it passed, Graham-Cassidy would have left millions of entrepreneurs and small business employees uninsured,” Small Business Majority Founder & CEO John Arensmeyer said. “People would likely have lost their healthcare coverage thanks to the measure’s gutting of Medicaid, and the subsidies that were the primary driver of coverage expansion under the ACA. It was also estimated to cost our economy 580,000 jobs.

“Additionally, the bill would have been particularly harmful to the self-employed because it would have stripped protections in the ACA that prohibit insurers from charging sick people more for their health coverage.”


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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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