DENVER — Rep. Jared Polis, Colorado Democrat, voted for Obamacare, but now he is seeking a waiver of the financial penalty for constituents suffering from a bad case of sticker shock.
“We will be encouraging a waiver. It will be difficult for Summit County residents to become insured. For the vast majority, it’s too high a price to pay,” Mr. Polis said in an article posted Wednesday by the Colorado health policy website Solutions.
So far, agents haven’t signed up a single person on the state’s health care exchange since Oct. 1 from Summit County, which is home to mountain resort towns and where plans run up to three times higher than in other areas of the state.
“People take one look at the rates and they walk out the door,” Tamara Drangstveit, executive director of the Family and Intercultural Resource Center, told Solutions.
Mr. Polis immediately came under fire from Republican critics of the Affordable Care Act, which requires all Americans to buy a health insurance plan by March 31 or face a fine.
“We’re glad that Congressman Polis has seen the light. However, it’s not just Coloradans in ski towns who need to be saved from the Obamacare train wreck,” said Colorado Republican Party Chairman Ryan Call. “Working families, small-business owners, senior citizens and young people across Colorado are struggling to pay their bills, and they should all be saved from Obamacare’s high price tag.”
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In September, Mr. Polis voted against a Republican bill that would have delayed the Obamacare individual mandate for a year.
“It’s Democratic hypocrisy at its finest. Polis wants a waiver for his own constituents, but doesn’t think the rest of the American people should get one,” said Matt Gorman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Summit County, which includes the resort communities of Dillon, Keystone and Silverthorne, ranks among the highest rates of uninsured residents in the state, thanks to the high price of homes and the seasonal nature of employment in the ski industry.
“What some counties need to do is figure out how they can reduce health care costs,” Mr. Polis said in Solutions. “Health care is less affordable in those areas and counties need a comprehensive approach.”