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September 25, 2019 11:11 AM UTC

Reminder: Health Care Still An Issue, And Cory Gardner Lied

  • by: Colorado Pols
Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

As the Colorado Sun’s John Ingold reports, new statistics from the Colorado Health Institute show the enduring value of the much-maligned Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. “Obamacare,” which has dramatically expanded access to health coverage in our state since passage in 2010:

Bucking the national trend, the rate of people without health insurance in Colorado has held steady this year, according to a major new study released Wednesday.

The every-other-year Colorado Health Access Survey found that a record-low 6.5% of Coloradans are without health coverage, identical to the survey’s 2017 finding and down from the 15.8% of people without insurance in 2011. [Pols emphasis]

That will bring a big sigh of relief from health care advocates in Colorado, who had worried that the state might be following the national trend toward higher uninsured rates after the Trump administration and congressional Republicans weakened key pieces of the Affordable Care Act. Earlier this month, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the number of people without health insurance in America had risen for the first time in a decade.

The latest report from the Colorado Health Access Survey is not all good news: in some segments of the population the rate of uninsured has actually increased since 2017, and many Coloradans still report financial trouble covering their medical expenses even after their coverage pays in. Republican undermining of the Affordable Care Act is undeniably taking its toll nationally and locally. But there is no question that the expansion of health coverage via the Affordable Care Act, both through Medicaid and the state’s health coverage marketplace, has greatly expanded access to care, and slashed the number of Coloradans without coverage to historic lows.

The drop in the rate of uninsured Coloradans from nearly 16% in 2011 to 6.5% today also disproves once again one of the biggest political lies of the 2010s in all of Colorado politics–Sen. Cory Gardner’s false contention over the course of years that “hundreds of thousands of Coloradans had their health insurance canceled” by the Affordable Care Act. Gardner claimed for years that some 300,000 or more Coloradans had “lost their coverage” after the ACA’s mandated changes to insurance plans took effect. The truth, as the law’s defenders and annoyed fact-checkers have tried to correct Gardner with at every step, is that plans were simply updated to reflect the coverage requirements of the new law.

Hundreds of thousands of Coloradans did not “lose coverage.” In reality, hundreds of thousands gained coverage, and the historic drop in the number of uninsured in the state persisting to the present day proves indisputably that Gardner was lying the whole time. On the other hand, Gardner’s literally dozens of votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act would have had exactly the effect he falsely warned of–losing coverage and not getting it back.

After Republican efforts to repeal “and replace” the ACA fell apart in 2017, the issue has been on the back burner excepting occasional courtroom flare-ups that service mostly to remind voters who benefit from the ACA who is on their side. Republicans have no desire to revisit health care legislatively before the 2020 elections, least of all America’s Most Vulnerable Senator™.

For the rest of us, “Obamacare” still plugging along helping Coloradans is an occasion to celebrate loudly.


4 thoughts on “Reminder: Health Care Still An Issue, And Cory Gardner Lied

  1. was he the one who claimed his awesome family plan that he loved was cancelled but the reality was slightly more complex and proved he was basically fos?

    I can't recall.

  2. And open enrollment opens November 1.  My agent suggests I'll see lower premiums by 16% or more, which will mean a savings for me AND the federal government. 

    Cory opposed the ACA, backed the suit trying to end it, and has pointed to Colorado's reinsurance program as a sign the ACA is failing. Colorado Times Recorder wrote:

    SEN. GARDNER: “Yeah you notice one of best indications that Obamacare failed was the state legislature’s efforts this year to ask the federal government to give them permission to do something that Obamacare didn’t do, and that’s to actually reduce prices and actually create competition. And so I think just the fact that legislature had to act shows that Obamacare has failed.

    It's going to be an interesting campaign of Gardner attempts to shuffle to both sides of so many issues.

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