Congresswoman Diana De Gette, who organized this event, says her top priority is to make people who are covered by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) aware of the impact the repeal will have. Additional officials joined her to participate in the event and talk to attendees after the presentation: Lt. Governor Donna Lynne, Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran, Congressman Ed Perlmutter and Local President of the Service Employees International Union Ron Ruggiero.
DeGette points out that Colorado’s uninsured rate dropped from 14% to 6.7% with the ACA—and if it’s repealed, 588,000 Coloradans stand to lose their care. Benefits that may go away or change include: lifetime limits; women’s rates and coverage; coverage for those with pre-existing conditions; and keeping young adults up to age 26 on their parents’ policy. A repeal would also result in a change in employer plans since such benefits would no longer be required.
If DeGette’s first priority is creating an awareness and knowlege of the changes that lie ahead, her second and third goals are listening to her constituents’ stories and motivating people to act by contacting their elected representatives if they disagree with new policies.
Stapleton resident Todd Ahlenius, who attended the rally, says people with serious and costly health issues are now able to afford insurance and prescriptions that allow them to live independently. If lifetime limits and preexisting clauses are reinstated they would likely lose their insurance and with it their ability to mange their health and live independently. Ahlenius speaks from personal experience. He has a child who spent 15 months in Children’s Hospital and takes a cardiac drug that would cost over $700 a month.
Park Hill resident David Lipowitz also had a personal reason to attend the rally. His 15-year-old son has needed periodic surgeries since he was born. When a job change for Lipowitz meant his son couldn’t continue with the same medical team, Lipowitz was able to purchase a plan on the exchange that kept his son’s doctors, an option he would likely lose with the repeal of the ACA.