Colorado Fights Obamacare -- Again

The state's Healthcare Liberty Act would provide a tax break equal to any federal penalties for those failing to sign up for Obamacare.

by / December 19, 2013

Recent problems with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) website stirred up slumbering rancor created when the ACA was run through Congress and signed without a single Republican vote. And like any force defeated in open conflict, opposition to Obamacare has returned in the form of multiple insurgencies, from states refusing to set up their own health exchanges to repeal efforts and attempts to pull the plug on ACA funding. Colorado even tried to put together a multi-state healthcare compact to compete with Obamacare.

And those efforts -- along with approaching deadlines and the personal mandate -- highlight public disapproval of Obama and the ACA. Even among his most ardent supporters -- Millennials between the ages of 18-29 -- Obama's  job approval has dropped from 67 percent just a year ago to 45 percent today, with 46 percent disapproval overall, according to a Pew Research report. And that disapproval extends to the ACA, according to a recent Harvard survey that concluded: "Most Millennials believe ACA/Obamacare will bring higher costs, worse care."

Colorado, which has its own health care exchange and some 250,000 residents with cancelled insurance,  is back in the news as Rep. Dan Nordberg (R-Colorado Springs) -- who opposes the ACA on Constitutional principles and cites the 10th Amendment on his website -- wrote that thousands of federal mandates have been passed down to the states. "Everything from healthcare to light bulbs, the federal government has increasingly told us how to live our lives. Enough is enough."

Nordberg, along with colleague Rep. Jared Wright (R-Fruita), is preparing to open another front in the insurgency by sponsoring the Colorado Healthcare Liberty Act, which would provide a tax break to residents equal to any federal penalties for failing to sign up for Obamacare. So the Millennials who refuse to sign up and are fined will have their fines reimbursed through a state tax break.

Though the bill appears to have little chance of passing when the Democrat-controlled Legislature convenes in January, it has infuriated ACA supporters, some calling it a reward for breaking federal law. But Colorado liberals recently thumbed their noses at federal law by legalizing recreational marijuana, so perhaps the Colorado Healthcare Liberty Act is another example of growing state independence -- but from the other side of the aisle.