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Colorado Seniors Deliver Health Plan Petitions to Sen. Gardner

More than 80 percent of Coloradans age 50 and older oppose cuts to Medicaid, and insurance companies charging people who have pre-existing medical conditions. (Getty Images)
More than 80 percent of Coloradans age 50 and older oppose cuts to Medicaid, and insurance companies charging people who have pre-existing medical conditions. (Getty Images)
July 12, 2017

DENVER – With the U.S. Senate back at work this week on a plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, advocates for older Coloradans on Wednesday are set to deliver more than 5,200 petitions to Sen. Cory Gardner's office in Denver, urging him to oppose the Better Care Reconciliation Act.

Bob Murphy, state director of AARP Colorado, maintains both the House and Senate health proposals would be bad for Colorado and the nation.

"These bills would provide tens of billions of dollars in tax breaks for drug and insurance companies, and really not do anything to make America healthier,” he stresses, “or do anything to address some of the key drivers in health care cost increases, like for example, the price of prescription drugs."

The petition drive is part of a national effort by AARP and other groups to block the Senate's health proposal that, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates, would result in 22 million Americans losing coverage.

The bill's proponents argue that the ACA, also known as Obamacare, is imploding, and a representative for Gardner told Colorado Politics that legislation is necessary to bring relief to Coloradans.

Sen. Michael Bennet opposes the measure.

Murphy notes more people have made calls through AARP phone lines to Gardner's office in opposition to the plan than to any other senator in the country.

Murphy maintains there's a widespread perception that elected representatives are out of touch and inaccessible, even when they're back in their districts.

"I think that leads to this sort of growing level of frustration, and why so many people have signed this petition,” Murphy states. “I mean, the only states in the country where people signed more petitions were states like New York, California, Texas and Pennsylvania, that have a lot more population than we do."

Murphy points to a recent poll of Coloradans across the political spectrum age 50 and older on some of the bill's more controversial proposals.

He says more than 90 percent are against increasing insurance costs based on age. And more than 80 percent oppose cuts to Medicaid, charging more to people with pre-existing conditions and tax breaks for insurance and drug companies.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - CO