Common Interests instead of Special Interests
I believe that our state and federal governments must work for ordinary Americans, not against them. I believe the focus must be on the issues that unite us for the common good.
Protecting Colorado Families and Growing Our Economy
Since the economic crisis of 2008, many Aurora and Colorado families have been struggling. In the past six years, I’ve sponsored or supported many bills to create good, high paying jobs throughout the state. Because of the innovative legislation we’ve passed to expand our economy, Colorado is now the fastest growing economy in the country. Unemployment has plummeted from a high of almost 10% to less than 6% now, the lowest it’s been since 2007.
One of the legislature’s key roles is to approve a balanced state budget to provide services and protect citizens. I have worked across the aisle to balance our budget while maintaining Colorado’s values, including our commitment to quality public education, access to affordable healthcare and fairness in contracting on state projects.
As your state representative, I pledge to continue to put the needs of Colorado families and small businesses first. As I have the past six years, I will continue to support education, consumer protections and measures that provide opportunities for those who want to enter the new energy economy. I am also remaining vigilant in the area of oil and gas development to make sure we protect public health and safety as we develop new energy resources.
The Health Care Affordability and Patient Protection Act
Colorado’s health insurance exchange has gotten off to a good start. Combined with other reforms, we now have 200,000 more people insured than when I took office in 2009. The federal health care law is designed to curb abuses by insurance companies, increase consumer choice and bring down costs by requiring for-profit health insurance companies to compete with non-profit insurers on a level playing field. This year’s 1.8% average increase in health insurance costs is the lowest we’ve seen in over 40 years.
Colorado residents and small businesses will see many benefits from health care reform. Key provisions Coloradans have enjoyed since 2010 are:
Small businesses can receive tax credits to help provide health insurance to employees
Youth can stay on parents’ plans to age 26
Insurance companies are banned from canceling policies when you get sick or cancelling lifetime limits.
Insurance companies are banned from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions
Seniors can receive a $250 rebate to close the “donut hole” gap in prescription drug coverage
Community Health Centers have received increased funding to expand access to the uninsured.
Long-term, health reform will save families and businesses hundreds of millions by injecting true market competition for the first time into health care.
In 2014, we required for-profit and non-profit insurance companies to compete head-to-head on a minimum benefits package. So all Coloradans are able to truly comparison shop for health insurance as they can shop for refrigerators or car insurance.
Starting in 2011, insurance companies were required to spend 80 to 85% of their premium dollars on medical services or else provide rebates to their policy holders. Before those reforms, some for-profit companies were skimming up to 40% of premiums as profit by denying health claims!
Families earning up to 400% of the Federal Poverty Level ($88,200 for a family of four) are eligible for subsidies. Studies show families are healthier and the system pays less to treat people when they go to a clinic rather than the Emergency Room.
Experts say there is more than enough money in the system to pay for universal healthcare in the US. In our current system, we pay the largest amount of funds on hospital care, including the ER, and the least on prevention. This is upside down from the rest of the developed world. One third of our healthcare dollars are spent on paperwork, not care to people.
I will continue to work to ensure that Coloradans are protected from insurance abuses and have access to quality healthcare.