From Families USA Defending Health Care in 2017: What Is at Stake for Colorado

familiesusa.org/product/defending-health-care-2017-what-stake-colorado

With a new president and Congress, the health care gains made throughout the last six years face their greatest threat yet. Congress has voted more than 60 times to roll back the historic progress that has been made to expand health coverage to millions of people in this country and to improve coverage for those who already had it. These proposed changes will put the health—and lives—of countless Coloradans at risk. Here’s what Colorado stands to lose if the new president and Congress move forward to upend our health care system:

Hundreds of thousands of Coloradans stand to lose health coverage

588,000 Coloradans stand to lose their health coverage.1

Colorado stands to lose $33 billion in federal funding for Medicaid, CHIP, and financial assistance for marketplace coverage.2

Approximately 67,000 Coloradans who currently get financial assistance to help pay for their health coverage will lose this help and will no longer have affordable coverage options. In 2016, Coloradans receiving financial assistance saw their monthly premiums reduced on average $318 thanks to this help.3

The now-historically low rate of uninsured people will spike, with the number of uninsured in Colorado increasing 134 percent by 2019.4 This will reverse the immense progress that has been made to expand coverage. Between 2013 and 2015:

  • The number of uninsured in Colorado declined 43 percent5

Repeal will end Colorado’s Medicaid expansion and cause ripple effects across the state economy

348,000 people stand to lose health coverage, most of whom are working.6 The Medicaid expansion has extended health coverage to lower-income Coloradans who hold down jobs that are the backbone of the state’s economy—from fast food workers to home care attendants to construction workers to cashiers. Repeal will leave these hard working Coloradans out in the cold.

Colorado will lose billions in federal Medicaid funding. Over the course of a year and a half alone, Medicaid expansion brought $1.7 billion in federal dollars into the state economy. 7 The impact of that lost federal Medicaid funding will have a ripple effect throughout the state economy, affecting hospitals, other health care providers, and businesses.

Millions of dollars in state budget relief lost. By providing health coverage to more state residents, the Medicaid expansion has meant that the state has been able to reduce its health care spending on programs like state-funded programs for the uninsured. That’s $160 million in state budget relief in 2015.8 These funds can be reinvested in other state priorities like infrastructure and education. Repeal will put these costs squarely back on the state.

Coloradans with private health insurance will be stripped of vital protections against discrimination

Approximately 2.3 million Coloradans with pre-existing conditions like asthma, diabetes, and cancer could once again be denied affordable, comprehensive coverage that actually covers their health care needs.9

Coloradans will once again face a world where insurance plans routinely cap the most they will pay for someone’s health care in a year and in their lifetime, effectively cutting off coverage for the sickest individuals when they most need it.

  • Roughly 1.9 million Coloradans (including 521,000 children) saw lifetime limits on coverage disappear thanks to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) ban on these practices.10

Millions of Coloradans will lose guaranteed coverage of free preventive services, like recommended cancer screenings and vaccines

Approximately 2.5 million Coloradans with private health coverage (including 556,000 children) and 785,000 Coloradan seniors on Medicare will lose guaranteed access to free preventive care, like blood pressure screenings, immunizations, and cancer screenings.11,12

Insurance companies will no longer be required to put Coloradans’ premiums toward care, not profits

Insurers will no longer be held accountable for using people’s premium dollars on care and quality improvement or paying back the difference.

  • Coloradans have received around $21.4 million in refunds from plans that overcharged for premiums since the ACA took effect.13

Thousands of seniors and people with disabilities will lose comprehensive drug coverage

The Medicare donut hole will re-open. This will leave Coloradan seniors and people with disabilities with a gap in prescription drug coverage and forced to pay thousands of dollars more in drug costs.

  • Seniors and people with disabilities in Colorado have saved approximately $218 million on drug costs thanks to the ACA’s closing the Medicare donut hole.14
  • In 2015 alone, approximately 59,000 seniors and people with disabilities in Colorado saved on average $983 on drug costs.15

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