DENVER (CBS4) – A crowd gathered at the state Capitol on Tuesday in favor of keeping the Affordable Care Act and the Connect for Health Colorado insurance exchange.
Lawmakers had planned to take up action on the insurance exchange Tuesday as the bill was scheduled to go before a Senate committee. However, the hearing was postponed until after a meeting later this week with the people who run the exchange.
If Tuesday’s turnout at the rally is any indication, efforts to repeal any part of Obamacare will encounter stiff opposition.
With songs, signs and stories, hundreds of people gathered at the Capitol to send a message to lawmakers.
“No repeal, no repeal, no repeal,” the crowd chanted.
As Republicans in Washington take steps to repeal Obamacare, in Colorado there’s also a repeal underway of the state health exchange. Sen. Jim Smallwood, R-Douglas County, says the two are not connected.
“I would have carried this bill no matter what happened in Washington,” Smallwood said.
He says the state exchange — where Coloradans buy insurance — isn’t financially viable.
“I’ve looked at their financials. I don’t see the math working going forward,” Smallwood said. “You’re talking about having to reduce expenses by like 25 percent.”
He says he’s also worried about at least a dozen counties where only one insurer is left on the exchange. He wants Colorado to move to the federal exchange by next year.
Demonstrators at Tuesday’s rally say there’s no guarantee a federal exchange will even exist in a year.
“This marketplace and other ACA safeguards are just too important to chance,” a speaker at the rally told the crowd.
While the Republican controlled Congress can repeal Obamacare without Democratic support, the Republicans at the state Capitol cannot repeal the state health exchange unless the Democratic-controlled House goes along — and that is highly unlikely.