Affordable Care Act | KUNC

Affordable Care Act

Leigh Paterson / KUNC

A vast majority of Coloradans, 93.5%, have health insurance, but more are struggling to pay their medical bills, according to a new report from the Colorado Health Institute (CHI) based on a survey of 10,000 households.

 

Data from the 2019 Colorado Health Access Survey (CHAS) shows that Weld, Jefferson and Douglas counties have the lowest rates of people without health insurance, ranging from 2.6% to 4.1%. Mountain counties like Eagle and Grand have the highest, ranging from 11.3% to 14.3%.

 

The Medicaid expansion promoted by the Affordable Care Act was a boon for St. Mary's Medical Center, the largest hospital in western Colorado. Since 2014, the number of uninsured patients it serves has dropped by more than half, saving the nonprofit hospital in Grand Junction more than $3 million a year.

But the prices the hospital charges most insured patients have not gone down.

Scott Franz / Capitol Coverage

Out of the dozens of lawmakers who hold leadership positions at the State Capitol, only five live on the Western Slope. State Rep. Dylan Roberts is one of them. The Democrat from Avon will lead the state's new Rural Affairs Committee. He says the rising cost of health insurance will be at the top of his agenda when the session starts next month.

Thursday, November 1 is the first day of the six-week open enrollment for health insurance plans on the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. States in the Mountain West are seeing minor rate hikes — if any — this year.

Idaho officially joined Utah today as the third state to try to expand Medicaid by ballot initiative.

Martin Falbisoner / Wikimedia Commons

Fire prevention and repealing parts of the Affordable Care Act were on the table this week in the U.S. House, while Colorado’s senators backed the appointment of Allison Eid to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Here’s a look at what the Colorado congressional delegation was up to this week.

Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

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 to replace what is also known as Obamacare in May.

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.

Bente Birkeland / Capitol Coverage

In the midst of an ongoing national fight about the future of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, a measure to replace Colorado’s health care exchange is igniting passion in Denver. On Feb. 7, people rallied outside the State Capitol to protest repealing the Affordable Care Act, while inside the capitol, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on Senate Bill 3, the Repeal Colorado Health Benefit Exchange Bill.

Bente Birkeland / RMCR

Data continues to show that where a person lives in Colorado plays a big role in dictating how much they pay for health insurance. That's because insurers use it to calculate premiums and in some regions it's unusually high. State lawmakers are aware of the problem – but are not sure what the solution is.

"I was seeing upwards of $500 a month," said Sam Higby, a Breckenridge outdoor gear shop employee. He's 35 and healthy, but said on his salary he simply can't afford healthcare.

"It does weigh on me as an active person, being concerned about what might happen out there."

spacebahr / Flickr - Creative Commons

In 2016, Colorado voters will have the opportunity to weigh in on a proposal for universal single payer health care. If the ballot measure, called Initiative 20, passes, it would set up a single payer-style health care system known as ColoradoCare that would serve all the state's residents — with some exceptions. Before the debate over the measure gets too pitched, here's a few key facts about the proposal.

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