Urban Tax Cuts, Rural Health Cuts: The AHCA’s Effect on Colorado

June 22, 2017

CaptureColorado has been a leader in health care in the United States. Our state expanded Medicaid prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and we were one of the first states to set up an insurance exchange to help the uninsured find coverage after the ACA passed.

These efforts paid mighty dividends in the form of reducing the number of uninsured Coloradans from 14.3 percent of the population in 2013 to 6.7 percent by 2015. Nowhere were the benefits of this felt more greatly than in rural Colorado, where thousands of people gained regular access to health care, many for the first time in their lives.

The American Health Care Act threatens to undo all this historic progress. Both the House and Senate versions of the legislation would cut access to care and hit rural economies the hardest. Changes made in the Senate health care bill will still provide significant tax cuts to wealthy Coloradans and increase costs for low and moderate-income Coloradans.

This report examines — down to the county level — how many people in Colorado will lose coverage

under the AHCA, how many will lose their ACA premium supports, how many will benefit from
tax cuts and how the AHCA will affect local economies and the state budget. Key findings include:

  • The AHCA will hurt Colorado’s economy, with 16,030 jobs being lost statewide by 2020 Rural counties will lose double the number of jobs their urban counterparts will as a proportion of total jobs, with a projected $158 million loss in wages, and $1.2 billion lost in local economies.
  • Urban counties will come out as huge winners when you take into account the hefty tax cuts for
    upper income earners under the AHCA. In fact, 75 percent of the households that will see benefits from the tax cuts under the AHCA are in the Denver metro area.
  • The AHCA’s new structure of a per-capita cap on funding for traditional Medicaid would require the state to come up with an additional $165 million per year just to cover the traditional populations of the elderly and disabled and poor children.
  • The state would be put in the position of slashing spending for Medicaid or for other services or for both. What the AHCA would do is pit the health of our most vulnerable citizens against the needs of our schoolchildren, college students and motorists.

Click here to read the full report.

Click here for the one page summary.

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