Opinion

Time to say ‘enough’ to attacks on children’s health care coverage

Author: Donna Lynne - December 18, 2017 - Updated: December 18, 2017

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Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne
Donna Lynne

Of the many complicated health care issues we face, one of the most immediate threats — and one that is easily solved — is the looming loss of coverage for more than 75,000 Colorado kids and 800 pregnant moms who depend on the federal Children’s Health Insurance Program.

CHIP provides low-cost health insurance coverage to children and pregnant women in families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid, but who can’t afford private insurance. Funding for the program expired in September — the latest casualty of Republicans in Washington who are more intent on figuring out how to cut taxes for the top 1 percent than addressing our health-care challenges.

As a candidate for governor, I recently wrapped up a statewide tour that featured nine town halls on health care. The deadline for people to enroll in health plans offered through the state exchange created under the Affordable Care Act was last Friday, so I launched the tour, in part, to highlight this important time for Coloradans. But I also wanted to listen to Coloradans about their concerns with the current state of health care.

One of the things I heard over and over — whether it was in Greeley or Glenwood Springs, Silverthorne or Steamboat — was that Coloradans are worried about the threat of losing funding for the CHIP program, and frustrated that it’s come to this.

And they should be. The state is now funding the program, but estimates are that we can only do so into January. At that point, Colorado is poised to be among of the first states in the nation where CHIP coverage will lapse and families will lose coverage. Coupled with the repeated attacks on the Affordable Care Act, most recently in the guise of tax reform, it’s time to say “enough.”

While Congress found time to pass tax bills — coupled with renewed attacks on the Affordable Care Act — that increased deficits by more than $1 trillion, Republicans have been unwilling or unable to give the CHIP program that serves nearly 10 million children and low-income pregnant women the same sense of urgency.

Colorado needs a governor willing to stand up to Washington, and someone with the experience to tackle the numerous health care issues that confront people across the state. I’ve spent my career working in health care – on all sides of it. I am proud to be putting that 30-plus years of experience to use working with Gov. Hickenlooper, and I look forward to continuing to fight for Coloradans’ health care in the months and years ahead.

We need to stop trying to take away people’s health care coverage — particularly coverage for children — and start working harder to expand coverage and bring down costs. I’m prepared to help Colorado tackle these tough and complicated challenges.

Donna Lynne

Donna Lynne

Donna Lynne, the lieutenant governor and chief operating officer of Colorado, is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor in 2018.