Issues

Thousands to Lose Insurance After Colorado Obamacare Co-Op Shuts Down

Bennet in 09: ‘If you have coverage and you like it, you can keep it’

premiums
AP

The biggest co-op in Colorado’s Obamacare exchange is folding, leaving 83,000 without health insurance.

The Associated Press reported:

Colorado HealthOP announced Friday that the state Division of Insurance has de-certified it as an eligible insurance company. That's because the cooperative relied on federal support, and federal authorities announced last month they wouldn't be able to pay most of what they owed in a program designed to help health insurance co-ops get established.

The Colorado announcement makes the co-op the seventh in the nation to collapse. Similar nonprofit insurers have already failed in Kentucky, Louisiana, Iowa/Nebraska, Nevada, New York and Tennessee.

Republicans are using the news to hit Democratic incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet, who promised in 2009 that the president’s health care law would not force people out of their insurance.

"If you have coverage and you like it, you can keep it," he said. "If you have a doctor and you like him or her you should be able to keep them as well. We will not take those choices away from you."

"The disastrous effects of Obamacare continue to take a devastating toll on Americans across the nation," said Alleigh Marré, a spokesperson for the National Republican Senatorial Committee. "Michael Bennet should feel personally responsible for the nearly 83,000 Coloradans who will be left struggling to establish new healthcare because of his misguided and loyal support for Obamacare."

Republican Sen. Cory Gardner also blamed "Obamacare's broken promises" for the loss of health insurance for thousands of Coloradans.

"Taxpayers are on the hook for millions of dollars in loans given out to the CO-OP, money that will likely never be repaid," he said. "The years since Obamacare’s passage have been marked by crisis after crisis in healthcare, and it’s far past time for a new plan."

Closing the co-op will cost taxpayers $40 million, Colorado HealthOP said on Friday. The group blamed its troubles on "the federal government’s failure to pay billions of dollars in promised funding."

Update 8:47 P.M.: This original article stated Colorado HealthOP marketed Obamacare as "brosurance." Those ads were made by Progress Now Colorado. The co-op did not use bros, but instead hired models to market Obamacare in their panties in the early days of the healthcare law. We regret the error.