DENVER—The Colorado Division of Insurance announced Friday a surge in health-care policy cancellations in the wake of Obamacare, just what Democratic candidates in high-profile races didn’t need less than three weeks before Election Day.
In a letter to state Senate Republicans, Colorado insurance commissioner Marguerite Salazar said that more than 22,000 Coloradans received cancellation notices in the last month, and that 192,942 Coloradans will lose their policies at the end of 2015.
That would bring the total number of cancellations in Colorado to more than 550,000 by the time the Affordable Care Act has been fully implemented and non-compliant plans have been phased out. Ten Colorado carriers have opted to continue offering non-compliant plans through 2015, Ms. Salazar said.
The report fueled a fresh barrage of Republican attacks against vulnerable Democrats, starting with Gov. John Hickenlooper and Sen. Mark Udall, both of whom are locked in tight reelection fights. Republican Rep. Cory Gardner issued a statement Friday blasting Mr. Udall’s continued support for Obamacare.
“Coloradans continue to pay the price for Senator Udall’s broken promise,” said Mr. Gardner, who’s challenging the Democratic incumbent. “It’s unfortunate Senator Udall has been so eager to please President Obama that he has forgotten thousands of Coloradans across our state.”
Mr. Udall has previously noted that the vast majority of those receiving cancellation notices have been offered new policies, although critics argue they’re not the same.
“There’s nobody more upset about the bungled rollout of the health care law than Mark,” Udall campaign spokesman James Owens told Politico. “That’s why he pushed the governor to use the authority to allow folks to keep their plans.”
Mr. Hickenlooper signed into law the bill creating the state-run health-care exchange, but he’s recently tried to distance himself from Obamacare in his race against former Republican Rep. Bob Beauprez. The Beauprez campaign posted video from a recent gubernatorial debate in which Mr. Hickenlooper says, “I’m no big fan of the Affordable Care Act.”
Mr. Hickenlooper went on to say that governors “would rather have [had] that done each state by state.”
Mr. Beauprez issued a statement Friday saying that, “It’s a governor’s job to stand up for Colorado. Sometimes that means saying no to Barack Obama and Washington, D.C.”
“John Hickenlooper’s support for Obamacare has forced many Colorado families to live with fewer choices, higher premiums, and less access to care,” Mr. Beauprez said.
A RAND Corporation report issued earlier this week found that there was “significant confusion and little understanding about Medicaid and private insurance subsidies through Connect for Health Colorado,” the state-run exchange.
Barriers to enrollment included “mistrust” of the system and “unfavorable attitudes toward the individual mandates,” despite the exchange’s $21 million marketing effort.