By Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4)– Colorado Republican U.S. Senator Cory Gardner says the vote on the Senate floor on Tuesday was a vote to work toward solutions to what he calls a failing health care system.

READ MORE: Denver Weather: Tuesday Is Our Final Warm Day, Cool And Wet Weather Is Coming

He says that’s what Coloradans, who are facing double-digit premium increases and fewer insurance options, want.

Sen. Cory Gardner (R) Colorado (credit: CBS)

But demonstrators outside his Denver office want Republicans to drop their efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

“This is a fight for our lives,” said protester Barb Cardell, “and people are willing to put a whole lot on the line.”

Protesters outside Sen. Cory Gardner’s office (credit: CBS)

Cardell, HIV positive, is among tens of millions of Americans with a pre-existing condition. Her medications alone, she says, cost $10,000 a month. Even if insurance is available under the Republican plan, she worries it won’t be affordable.

“There’s probably some revisions that need to happen, but we need to make sure that the revisions don’t happen at the cost of people living with chronic conditions like mine,” said Cardell.

READ MORE: 47-Year-Old Woman Inside Aurora Home Killed When Shots Are Fired At It From Car Outside

Protesters outside Sen. Cory Gardner’s office (credit: CBS)

Gardner says he agrees and promised to fight for that, “That’s why I have said yes, let’s move forward on a debate to find a solution that increases the quality of care and decreases the cost of care.”

He acknowledged that if it takes Sen. John McCain, who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer, flying back to Washington DC to get Republicans to agree to debate, then getting them to agree on a bill will be a tall order.

WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 25: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) gives a thumbs up to well wishers as he gets into his car at the US Capitol July 25, 2017 in Washington, DC. McCain was recently diagnosed with brain cancer but returned on the day the Senate is holding a key procedural vote on U.S. President Donald Trump’s effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

“This was a tight vote today and I expect this to continue to be a tight vote. I hope we can attract bi-partisan support. That’s the best way forward,” said Gardner.

While he’s voted in the past to repeal Obamacare, he wouldn’t commit to doing it now without a replacement, saying he wants to see a bill first.

That comes as little comfort to those like Cardell, “We’re out here because it’s the only way to get our voice heard.”

Sen. Michael Bennet (credit: CBS)

Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet called Tuesday’s vote shameful, saying whether Republicans vote on a repeal and replace bill or a repeal only bill, it will be devastating for Colorado families, hospitals and rural communities.

MORE NEWS: Wildfire Sparks In Ptarmigan Wilderness Above Town Of Silverthorne

Shaun Boyd is CBS4’s political specialist. She’s a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter @cbs4shaun.