Repealing & Replacing the ACA
Repealing & Replacing the ACA
In 1994, as a member of the Colorado State House, I introduced House Bill 94-1210, a pioneering health insurance reform measure. This was long before most people even thought of health insurance as a major issue. HB94-1210 provided what is called “guaranteed issue”, meaning that insurance carriers had to cover those with preexisting conditions and could not rate anyone differently based on their health status. The bill spread the cost of doing this through a technique known as “adjusted community rating,” and the legislation prohibited pricing discrimination based on gender.
Unfortunately, I was not able to fend off an amendment that exempted the individual health insurance market from the landmark consumer protections provided for in my legislation, but I was at least able to advance these protections for the small employers and the legislation was the first major attempt to reform the health care insurance system in Colorado. Ultimately HB-94-1210 was signed into law by then Governor Roy Romer.
Now, ‘fast forward’ to 2010, the year when the Affordable Care Act (ACA), was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama. It provided all of the consumer protections that were adopted in Colorado, and many other states, for the small group market and included reforms to the troubled individual health insurance market. While many of these provisions were significant improvements, the ACA’s principal tool for expanding health care has been the expansion of the Medicaid program to cover able-bodied working individuals, without dependent children, and by increasing the income eligibility up to 138% of the federal poverty level.
The ACA has expanded coverage through the Medicaid program, at an enormous cost to the taxpayers, but has otherwise failed to deliver on its promises to lower costs and to expand private insurance coverage. This is particularly true in the health insurance exchanges, where individuals are able to navigate these government-sponsored websites to see what options are available for them and the subsidies they are eligible for based on income.
For those purchasing insurance through Colorado’s insurance exchange in 2017, they will find that rates have increased an average of 20% over 2016. Nationally, the price of insurance coverage has increased by 25%. Additionally, the number of insurers willing to provide coverage to individuals is rapidly dwindling in our state. In western Colorado, there are 14 counties where only 1 insurance carrier services their area. Clearly this model is unsustainable.
What I plan to do to address the inevitable failure of the ACA in Congress is to:
Finally and perhaps most importantly, I will not vote for to repeal any part of the ACA without a concurrent replacement.
U.S. Representative Mike Coffman (CO-06) announced earliert this month that during the district work period of Feb. 20-24, he will undertake the first phase of his planned “listening tour” regarding the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Coffman will use this series of meetings to gain the perspective of as many constituents, patients and healthcare professionals as possible.
In the month of March, Coffman will commence the second phase of this listening effort when he plans to hold several telephone town halls to hear directly from constituents regarding their concerns about the ACA.
For his third-phase, Coffman will hold a 'traditional' town-hall event in the district that will be scheduled in the month April.
Information on how to participate in these telephone town halls and information on district events will be made available at www.coffman.house.gov/events.
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