In the summer of 2010, Americans of every political stripe were infuriated as the Democrat controlled US Senate and House forced through Obamacare, so much so the elections of 2010 swept Democrats from office at near historic levels. The message was clear: repeal Obamacare.
In December of 2010, then Colorado Governor Ritter signed the Roadmap to Health Reform in Colorado which laid out the process of enacting Obamacare in our state. Two items were keys in this implementation; the expansion of Medicaid and the establishment of federally controlled healthcare exchanges.
A month later at the beginning of the 2011 legislative session, State Representative Amy Stephens and State Senator Betty Boyd introduced the two bills required to force Obamacare on the citizens of Colorado; SB11-008 expanded Medicaid and SB11-200 established the now failing state healthcare exchanges.
Many recall the citizens uprising against the establishment of the state exchanges as town halls were flooded with angry constituents and legislative hearings on the subject turned into what many see as the worst in government as proponent legislators on committees tried to silence dissent through parliamentary tricks and by stacking proponents in testimony while limiting the concerned voices of citizens.
In the end, many Colorado legislators did listen to the concerns of the public and voted against the establishment of the exchanges as only 13 misguided Republicans were left who voted for passage. The bill was saved by Democrats supporting government controlled healthcare voting as a block to make Colorado an unwilling participant in Obamacare.
Since implementation of our state government health-control exchange, the US House of Representatives has voted to repeal funding of the 1.9 billion in federal money given to states to set up these exchanges. Those efforts were killed by Senator Harry Reid’s radical Senate and taxpayer money flowed from Washington. The Colorado exchanges are plagued by massive cost over runs, questionable business practices, and a flawed and failing IT network costing more than 170 million in federal taxpayer money to implement.
The Exchange received an additional $8 million from taxpayers to operate just late last year, and now its directors are claiming they need more than $300,000 in emergency tax dollars just to process enrollments through February; enrollments that are mostly for Medicaid and not new enrollees for private insurance, which the proponents of the exchanges claimed it would attract.
The Colorado exchange is proving to be a disaster as those legislators who withdrew support in 2010 foresaw. Its main proponent in 2010, Representative Amy Stephens claimed it would “create a free-market solution” while most everyone knew and the intellectually honest now clearly see, there is nothing free market about a system controlled by government. It operates by forcing citizens to comply under threat of tax penalties removing all choice from individual families.
There have been two previous attempts to repeal the Colorado exchanges by our legislature. The first attempt drew only five Co-Sponsors to Representative Joshi’s bill, HB 13-1078. The names of Co-sponsors grew to sixteen in 2013 and has increased to twenty-two for this year’s drive to rid Colorado of a system which is not only flawed and costly, but is destroying quality care for Colorado citizens.
We must thank Representative Janak Joshi and Senator Kevin Lundburg for once again having the courage to give us a chance to remove ourselves from the ongoing disaster of the state exchange. Our thanks also go to the now many in our legislature who have stepped up as Co-sponsors: Representatives Humphrey, Becker J., Brown, Buck, Dore, Everett, Klingenschmitt, Lawrence, Neville P., Nordberg, Ransom, Saine, Szabo, Van Winkle and Senators Cooke, Lambert, Balmer, Baumgardner, Hill, Holbert, Marble, and Sonnenberg. They deserve not only thanks, but support.
Prior to the forced implementation by a few ideologues and misguided elected officials, Colorado had a true free market healthcare exchange system run by private insurance companies, a fact rejected by those bent on socializing our healthcare and taking control away from the patient and doctor and giving control to the federal government.
As was made clear by voters in 2010 and again just last November 2014, we must repeal the Colorado State Health-control Exchanges and return Colorado to a true functioning free market system where the patient along with their doctors make the decisions and not a nameless bureaucrat who cares nothing about your family’s healthcare.
Notes: 1) One of the original sponsors of the Colorado Exchange bill was the Representative Amy Stephens. Term limited, she now works as a “legislative consultant” lobbying for government health care in Colorado. 2) It was then State Senator Shawn Mitchell who, in 2011, brought the voice of concerned citizens to the forefront with our legislators by hosting a teleconference with Amy Stephens, her “experts” and several concerned citizens including Michelle Morin one of Colorado’s leading conservative activists. His willingness to work with the community at large is commendable and brought to light many issues which would have remained hidden at the time.
Don Rodgers has been an influential political activist and leader in Colorado for 8 years. He is the founder, leader, and organizer of the local 9-12 Project Pikes Peak Patriots, and a military veteran. Find Don on Twitter and Facebook.