As coronavirus infections rise, supporters of Obamacare in Colorado are calling on politicians, like Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), to stop trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), pointing out that the current health care crisis highlights the benefits of the national health care law, like the fact that 400,000 people in Colorado have health insurance thanks to Obamacare.
Prior to the implementation of the ACA in Colorado, about 16 percent of residents lacked health insurance, a figure that’s dropped to about six percent today.
The threat of the coronavirus “underscores the need for everyone to have access to affordable health care and how we need to protect the systems that provide that — such as the ACA,” said Vanessa Harmoush, a spokesperson for Rocky Mountain Values, a progressive advocacy group, in a statement.
“Coloradans with ACA-compliant insurance will not be charged exorbitant fees for being tested for coronavirus, thanks to the ACA’s requirement that insurers cover preventative care,” said Harmoush.
Now is the time for Gardner to stop calling for the repeal of Obamacare and, instead, to help more people gain insurance under the ACA so they can receive preventative care and other treatment,” said Polly Baca, also with Rocky Mountain Values in a news release.
“We need Senator Gardner, who has voted seven times in his career to repeal our health care, to pledge to stop attacking the Affordable Care Act, especially during a national crisis like this,” said Baca.
An interactive tool released last week by the liberal group, Center for American Progress, shows the health benefits that would be lost in Colorado, if Obamacare were repealed.
The importance of these benefits in Colorado is even more clear in the midst of the current health care crisis, say advocates, who point to polls showing a high level of concern about the crisis and dissatisfaction with Trump’s response.
Gardner did not return a call seeking to know if he has new thoughts on Obamacare, in view of the potential pandemic, and on health care more broadly in light of the coronavirus, but opponents of the ACA have said the law has failed to contain health-insurance costs, requires too much government involvement, and can be replaced with a better program.
But Republicans were not only unable to repeal Obamacare in 2017 when they had the power in Washington to do so, but they have yet to put forward a plan that would contain costs better than Obamacare has, as well offer the ACA’s benefits such as requiring insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions, offer preventative care for free, and more.
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review a decision by a lower court that ruled in favor of Republican plaintiffs who alleged that the ACA is unconstitutional. That decision is on hold pending the Supreme Court decision. Gardner appears to back the lawsuit.
In interviews, Gardner has expressed concern about coronavirus and defended the Administration, but he hasn’t objected in recent years to budget cuts to the agency charged with preventing coronavirus-like outbreaks.