DENVER — If the U.S. Senate’s effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act becomes law, Colorado could see more than $9 billion in Medicaid cuts and a 30 percent drop in enrollment, according to analysis from the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.
The report suggests a Senate vote, set for Tuesday, could leave some of Colorado’s most vulnerable residents without needed coverage.
The vote could start the debate in the Senate over repealing President Barack Obama’s signature health care legislation.
Medicaid was expanded when the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. A good number of Republican lawmakers are hoping to roll back that expansion.
“Remember repeal and replace, repeal and replace,” President Donald Trump said Monday. “They kept saying it over and over again.”
Adding pressure on Republicans to get the job done, Trump vowed GOP lawmakers will face repercussions for not following through on what they said they would do.
“Every Republican running for office promised immediate relief from this disastrous law,” Trump said. “We as a party must fulfill that solemn promise to the voters.”
But some of the most vulnerable voters have been busy calling U.S. representatives and senators, urging them to find a better solution.
“I think that everybody is very concerned that the Senate appears to be trying to press ahead with this legislation that could potentially kick 20 million vulnerable Americans off their healthcare coverage,” said Eiko Browning, a Colorado health care advocate.
The Colorado Health Institute, also nonpartisan, believes the loss for Colorado Medicaid recipients could be as high as $15 billion over a decade.
Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, the focus of recent sit-in protests at his Denver office, has publicly said Medicaid cuts might be required.
His counterpart, Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, said the cuts would be devastating to Colorado families. But the question remains: Will Trump’s arm twisting work?
“Every member in the Senate — I say this — the American people have waited long enough,” Trump said. “There’s been enough talk and no action. Now is the time for action.”
Several Senate options on a repeal will dictate how much Medicaid funding might be unavailable for Coloradans.