By Shawn Chitnis
DENVER (CBS4)– Supporters of the Affordable Care Act protested outside the office of Republican Sen. Cory Gardner Thursday with balloons and signs on the seven-year anniversary of Obamacare becoming law– the same day Republicans were unable to repeal the landmark health care legislation.
“Don’t pop our plan! Don’t pop our plan! Don’t pop our plan!” the crowd chanted before a vote on the GOP bill to replace the ACA was cancelled.
Congressional members across Colorado have voiced concerns over the replacement bill. Democrats have made it clear they will oppose this effort but even some Republican representatives across the state have their hesitations.
CBS4 contacted the offices of each GOP member from Colorado and could not get any of them to firmly say they support the current bill.
Republican Rep. Mike Coffman’s staff told CBS4 that he is leaning toward a “yes” vote but still needs to see the final version of the American Health Care Act.
Republican Representatives Scott Tipton and Doug Lamborn said they were undecided or needed to see what the bill would actually look like before a vote. Republican Rep. Ken Buck is a member of the “House Freedom Caucus” that has led the charge to block this bill. But Buck’s staff said Thursday evening they were unsure how he would vote.
“We are advancing our principles and we are doing what we told the American people we would do,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan this week. “This is our chance and this is our moment. It’s a big moment.”
The GOP leadership emphasized this was their best chance to repeal and replace Obamacare but did not make any public statements about the bill on Thursday.
The impact on Colorado could be an expensive one, according to Gov. John Hickenlooper. He told CBS4 earlier this month that the federal funding for expanding Medicaid in the state would go away in this bill. That could cost Colorado up to $1 billion a year.
“I don’t see how you can do this plan without significantly bringing down the number of people that have coverage,” said Hickenlooper.
The balloons outside Gardner’s office were supposed to represent the number of people losing coverage by the bill. Obamacare supporters popped each of them at once to symbolize the popping of health care plans they believe hundreds of thousands of residents in Colorado will face if this current bill passes.