Sen. Jim Smallwood says state health exchange repeal would save the state millions of dollars

DENVER -- Republican State Senator Jim Smallwood says his plan to repeal the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange would save the state millions.

Smallwood talked about Senate Bill 3 on this week’s Politics Unplugged with Anne Trujillo. The bill is seen as a mirror to the effort by Republicans in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“Our state exchange is really funded through a number of different sources, but many of them are really tax payer dollars,” State Sen. Smallwood said. “With my proposal, first of all we want people to know that by repealing the state exchange that in no way ends the ACA, it doesn’t end ObamaCare in the state of Colorado. It allows our citizens to buy the same policies from the same insurance companies at the same rates, but on website healthcare.gov instead of connectforhealthco.com because healthcare.gov is being paid for with federal dollars because with connect for health we’re paying for it, again, with our state dollars.”

If enacted, Senate Bill 3 would repeal the state exchange as of Jan. 1, 2018, though it would give lawmakers until the end of that year to “wind up” the exchange. 

Repeal of the exchange is considered unlikely because the state House is controlled by Democrats and Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper supports the exchange.

“I think there is a tremendous amount of fear that repealing our state exchange will in some way put people’s coverage in jeopardy,” Rep. Smallwood said. “And everybody needs to know that if that was the case, we as republicans certainly wouldn’t be supporting it here in Colorado.”

By: Kevin Krug