UPDATE TO THIS POST–> Stephens backed off the opt-out amendment referred to in this post after her Democrat co-sponsor Senator Betty Boyd labeled the amendment a “poison pill,” and after the “business community” prompted Stephens to back away from the amendment. An opt-out amendment was never attached to SB200. From the Pueblo Chieftain:
“Stephens initially caved to the criticism by getting behind an amendment that would have required the governor to seek a waiver from the federal government to opt out of the federal health reforms. The same Tea Party faction that labeled the federal health care overhaul ‘Obamacare’ tagged SB200 ‘Amycare,’ a reference to House Majority Leader Amy Stephens, R-Monument, who carried the legislation along with Sen. Betty Boyd, D-Westminster. But a backlash from the business community, which overwhelmingly supported SB200, prompted Stephens to back away from the amendment, which was not attached to the bill in its finished form.”
————————- Original Post —————————
This is Part 6 in my series about ObamaCare health care exchanges. Be sure to read previous Parts here.
If you’ve been reading my series, you will know by now that the battle against health care exchanges has been raging in Colorado for the past 2 weeks. Colorado State Senator Betty Boyd(D) and House Majority Leader Representative Amy Stephens(R) co-sponsored SB11-200, and the purpose of the bill is “creating a process for the implementation of a health benefit exchange in Colorado.”
Concerned Colorado Citizens and Grassroots Groups Activate
Once it became known that SB11-200 was being brought to Colorado’s legislature, grassroots groups and individuals worked feverishly to defeat the bill, and on many fronts. There wasn’t much time to respond, as the bill was announced with little notice. Nonetheless, the grassroots networks across the state met, organized, shared information, and alerted Coloradans to the dangers of the bill, and many contacted legislators.
Co-sponsor Representative Amy Stephens(R) held a town hall in Colorado Springs on Tuesday, March 22nd, which left many attendees confused and frustrated. This sparked a grassroots wildfire of information and determination to apprise both Representative Stephens and other lawmakers of the dangers her exchange bill poses to Coloradans. It also prompted this series I’ve been writing about exchanges.
I contacted numerous health care policy experts across the country to enlist their support and received tremendous professional feedback and information. One of these experts, health policy economist John Graham of Pacific Research Institute, even joined me in a meeting set up by Colorado Senator Shawn Mitchell between proponents of SB11-200 and various Colorado “grassroots” individuals. Mr. Graham was instrumental in shedding light upon the realities of exchanges to all in attendance. Very special thanks to Mr. Graham for his assistance.
Representative Stephens Announces an Amendment to her Exchange Bill
Thanks to the efforts of many, ObamaCare’s reach into Coloradans’ lives via SB11-200 is now in jeopardy. Representative Stephens heard the facts and recognizes that her exchange bill, as written, poses a serious problem by allowing the implementation of Obamacare, and she is doing something about it. She has gone on record to say she will offer an amendment to her SB11-200 Colorado Exchanges bill that will opt-out of ObamaCare requirements. The amendment reads as follows:
“The provisions of SB 200 shall not be implemented, nor shall they have force or effect, until the State of Colorado requests, and the federal government grants, a full waiver from all terms, restrictions, and requirements in the federal Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act of 2010, and all rules, regulations and administrative guidelines issued thereto. The Governor of the State of Colorado shall seek such waiver within 60 days of the enactment of this Act.”
In her letter to Senator Boyd regarding her amendment, Representative Stephens wrote this:
“Many of my constituents and a few of my colleagues have told me that, while exchanges are themselves sensible public policy, the potential linkage of this legislation to Obamacare is far more damaging than whatever benefit is derived from the bill. Some have worried that, even though the exchanges created in my bill are totally independent of Obamacare, that future legislators or Governors (or even the federal government) could hijack this local control measure to implement Obamacare.”
Please contact Representative Stephens and thank her for listening and taking appropriate action, particularly since this is a bill into which she has invested much time and dedication, and in which she has believed wholeheartedly. Encourage and support her to continue taking the actions she is proposing to prevent ObamaCare from taking root in Colorado via this bill.
Rep Amy Stephens
Rm # 271
2000 E Colfax
Denver, CO 80203
Thank You from Michelle
One of two choices can be made in this freedom-choking predicament President Obama has put states in. States can react, roll over and let his problem become our problem, or states can stand up in courage to neutralize his credibility on the issue.
Thank you Representative Stephens, for recognizing the threat and taking this action, so that Colorado Republicans are not choosing the former. Thank you to other Colorado lawmakers who did likewise. And thank you to all grassroots groups and individuals across Colorado for initiating the process of getting involved when and where it counts. And again, thank you to all the health policy experts from across the country who lent me and others so much support and information. Especially Mr. John Graham. Let freedom ring. ~ Michelle Morin