Breaking Down the Impacts Of the Senate GOP Health Care Bill for Colorado

Jul 3, 2017

Things are in limbo after Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell delayed a vote on the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. A group of 13 senators crafted the bill after the House passed their version of a health care bill in May to replace what is also known as Obamacare.

Based on what's in the Senate bill right now, Bente Birkeland spoke with Joe Hanel of the nonpartisan Colorado Health Institute to break down what the numbers could mean for residents and the state's budget.

Interview Highlights:

Joe Hanel with the nonpartisan Colorado Health Initiative
Credit Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

On the Medicaid expansion in Colorado:

We find that Colorado state government could expect $15 billion less in funding from the feds. As a result, probably about 630,000 fewer Coloradans will be on Medicaid by the end of the next decade. That's a big chunk of the population. Those folks would probably be uninsured because before the expansion happened with the Affordable Care Act a lot more people were uninsured. Most of them got coverage through Medicaid because they couldn't afford it any way else.

On potential impacts to the individual market:

Regardless of what happens with this bill, we might be looking at some bigger price increases next year because what insurers around the country and in Colorado are saying is some of the Affordable Care Act mechanisms that shore up the insurance market, they're not sure if they'll be funded.

On whether Coloradans would fare better or worse under the Senate bill:

It would depend on who you are under this bill if you would do better off or worse. The Senate bill pushes people toward cheaper insurance that covers less. It also allows insurers to charge less for younger people but more for older people.

Capitol Coverage is a collaborative public policy reporting project, providing news and analysis to communities across Colorado for more than a decade. Fifteen public radio stations participate in Capitol Coverage from throughout Colorado.