Hickenlooper Expanded Medicaid, Created State-Run Marketplace To Insure Nearly All Coloradans

Julianna Rennie, PolitiFact

Former two-term Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is a uncommon breed within the 2020 presidential race — he’s working as a reasonable.

On well being care, he helps common protection and boasts about Colorado’s record-low uninsured fee. But not like lots of his opponents for the Democratic nomination, he opposes “Medicare-for-all,” the single-payer federal system that will assure well being care protection to each American.

Hickenlooper has been making the rounds on cable speak exhibits and is making an attempt to differentiate himself as a compromiser. In an interview on MSNBC’s “Meet the Press,” Hickenlooper mentioned, “We got to almost universal coverage in health care in Colorado. We expanded Medicaid. We created one of the most innovative exchanges in the country.” His marketing campaign web site claims that “nearly 95 percent” of Coloradans presently have well being care protection.

We puzzled how Colorado’s uninsured fee modified throughout Hickenlooper’s time within the governor’s mansion and the way it compares with the remainder of the nation.

How Did Hickenlooper Do It?

The Affordable Care Act, or ACA, authorizes states to increase Medicaid to incorporate well being care protection for all adults incomes as much as 138% of the federal poverty stage. Colorado is one among 37 states which have opted to take action.

In 2013, then-governor Hickenlooper introduced his proposal to increase Medicaid for free of charge to the state basic fund. Under the ACA, the federal authorities would pay for this system till 2016, after which states needed to pay a portion. Hickenlooper deliberate to cowl future bills with cost-cutting efforts and current revenues, together with a hospital supplier payment rolled out in 2009.

After Hickenlooper launched the Medicaid enlargement, Colorado’s uninsured fee dropped from 14.3% in 2013 to 6.5% in 2017, in keeping with the Colorado Health Institute.

However, about 350,000 Coloradans nonetheless don’t have medical insurance — one-quarter of whom are undocumented, making them ineligible for public insurance coverage. Also, the worth of protection continues to rise in Colorado, the place folks pay some of the highest premiums within the United States.

Hickenlooper noticed Medicaid enlargement as a step towards his objective of creating Colorado the “healthiest state in America.” But he hasn’t all the time supported insurance policies that might give extra folks well being care protection. In 2016, he opposed a ballot measure that will have created a single-payer state well being care system referred to as ColoradoCare. Then, he mentioned he’d be open to a Trump administration-backed coverage to implement a piece requirement for Medicaid recipients.

How Does Colorado Compare?

Hickenlooper’s Medicaid enlargement greater than halved Colorado’s uninsured fee. But if a 6.5% uninsured fee counts as “almost universal coverage,” then what number of different states can tout that accomplishment?

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Colorado’s uninsured fee positions it squarely within the higher half of the pack, with a nationwide common uninsured fee of 9%. (It’s vital to notice that the Kaiser Family Foundation measured Colorado’s uninsured fee otherwise, pegging it at eight%. The Colorado Health Institute mentioned its fee is barely decrease as a result of it contains extra information on youngsters. Kaiser Health News is an editorially unbiased program of the inspiration.)

The basis lists 20 states with even decrease uninsured charges than Colorado, together with Massachusetts at three% and Iowa at four%.

In an electronic mail to PolitiFact, Michele Lueck, the president of the Colorado Health Institute, referred to as Hickenlooper’s declare that “nearly 95 percent” of Coloradans presently have well being care protection a “friendly rounding error.”

Enrollment Numbers In Decline Nationwide, But Not In Colorado

About 300,000 fewer Americans purchased insurance coverage by in the course of the enrollment interval in 2018 than within the earlier yr. Meanwhile, Colorado’s enrollment numbers had been up.

The Affordable Care Act allowed states to create their very own marketplaces to promote insurance policy to individuals who aren’t lined by their employer, Medicaid or Medicare — which incorporates about eight% of the full market in Colorado. Twelve states, together with Colorado, run their very own marketplaces.

Some credit score decrease enrollment throughout the nation to the Trump administration’s insurance policies to stymie the Affordable Care Act. It lower funding for’s price range for advertising and eradicated the penalty for not having insurance coverage.

But in Colorado, almost 6% extra folks bought a plan on Connect for Health Colorado, the state-run market that operates independently of the federal authorities. While launched fewer adverts and shut down weekly for upkeep, Connect for Health Colorado continued to succeed in out to eligible clients.

Our Ruling

Hickenlooper mentioned, “We got to almost universal coverage in health care in Colorado.” Though Colorado is way nearer to common well being care protection than earlier than the Affordable Care Act, a whole lot of hundreds of Coloradans stay uninsured and different states have even decrease uninsured charges. Nevertheless, the state has an uninsured fee of 6.5%, which is near common protection, as Hickenlooper mentioned. The state achieved this by increasing Medicaid and working its personal well being care market.

We fee the declare Mostly True.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a nationwide well being coverage information service. It is an editorially unbiased program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation which isn’t affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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