Hickenlooper, Kasich lead bipartisan governors opposed to Cassidy-Graham ACA repeal

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September 19, 2017, 1:45 pm

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Tuesday joined a group of nine other governors in opposing the Senate’s last-ditch effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act before a Sept. 30 deadline, instead continuing to back bipartisan efforts to shore up the ACA and bring down health insurance costs.

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Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper

Hickenlooper, along with Ohio GOP Gov. John Kasich and a mix of four Democrats and four Republicans, sent a letter (pdf) to Senate majority and minority leaders Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer imploring them to reject the 11th-hour Cassidy-Graham bill.

“As you continue to consider changes to the American health care system, we ask you not to consider the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson amendment and renew support for bipartisan efforts to make health care more available and affordable for all Americans,” the governors wrote. “Only open, bipartisan approaches can achieve true, lasting reforms.”
Moderate, bipartisan attempts to bring down skyrocketing health-insurance costs in rural areas like Colorado’s Western Slope appear stalled amidst the ongoing partisan rancor as the Senate debates a bill floated by Republicans Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy aimed at killing the Affordable Care Act. This despite a record number of Coloradans with health insurance, thanks largely to the ACA.
A new report called the 2017 Colorado Health Access Survey, produced by the Colorado Health Institute, found Colorado’s uninsured rate recently fell to an all-time low of 6.5 percent.
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South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, right, at the Aspen Ideas Festival in 2015, with Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic (David O. Williams photo).

“For the first time ever, over 5 million Coloradans have health insurance coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act, bringing our uninsured rate down to 6.5 percent,” said Adam Fox, director of strategic engagement of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative. “This begs the question why Republicans in Congress are pushing a last-ditch effort to repeal the ACA, gut Medicaid, and undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions?”

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office last week found the Trump administration is driving up the costs of the ACA by threatening to de-fund the program and pulling money from outreach to sign people up. Hickenlooper and Kasich floated a plan late last month that offered a number of short-term fixes to shore up the rising costs of health insurance and provide stability to the marketplace under the ACA.

“Fewer Coloradans say they cannot afford insurance coverage, and, as much as Republicans seem to want to gut Medicaid, Coloradans enrolled in the program are generally pretty happy with their coverage,” Fox added. “The report highlights that affordability is still a challenge, especially in rural areas and for low-income Coloradans, but fewer Coloradans are struggling to pay their medical bills. Congress should be working to address the cost drivers in health care and to stabilize the individual market.”

It’s unclear if Senate Republicans have the 50 votes needed to pass Cassidy-Graham, assuming Democrats remain united in opposing the bill. It would then have to pass the House, which narrowly approved the American Health Care Act repealing the ACT in May.

Contact information for Colorado’s congressional delegation:

Senate

Michael Bennet, Democrat

261 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-5852

Contact: www.bennet.senate.gov/?p=contact

Cory Gardner, Republican

354 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington DC 20510

(202) 224-5941

Contact: www.gardner.senate.gov/contact-cory/email-cory

House of Representatives

District 1 – Diane DeGette, Democrat

2111 Rayburn House Office Building

U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

(202) 225-4431

Contact: https://degette.house.gov/contact

District 2 – Jared Polis, Democrat

1727 Longworth House Office Building

U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

(202) 225-2161

Contact: https://polis.house.gov/contact/

District 3 – Scott Tipton, Republican

218 Cannon House Office Building

U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

(202) 225-4761

Contact: https://tipton.house.gov/contact/email

District 4 – Ken Buck, Republican

1130 Longworth House Office Building

U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

(202) 225-4676

Contact: https://buck.house.gov/contact

District 5 – Doug Lamborn, Republican2402 Rayburn House Office Building

U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

(202) 225-4422

Contact: https://lamborn.house.gov/contact/

District 6 – Mike Coffman, Republican

2443 Rayburn House Office Building

U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

(202) 225-7882

Contacts: https://coffman.house.gov/contact/

District 7 – Ed Perlmutter, Democrat

1410 Longworth House Office Building

U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

(202) 225-2645

Contacts: https://perlmutter.house.gov/forms/writeyourrep/

 

 

 

 

 

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David O. Williams
David O. Williams is an award-winning freelance reporter based in the Vail Valley of Colorado, writing on health care, immigration, politics, the environment, energy, public lands, outdoor recreation and sports. His work has appeared in 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Colorado Independent, Colorado Politics formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the London Daily Mirror, the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, SKI Magazine, Atlantic Media's RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), Ski Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail and Westword (Denver). Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

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