Colorado Attorney General speaks out about Affordable Health Care Act | Politics
Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said Monday that the 2010 lawsuit filed challenging the legality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (PPACA) was not about health care.
“For the vast majority of Americans and the vast majority of people in this room, the lawsuit was about health care,” Suthers said, but for him and the other attorneys general who signed onto the suit, “it was all about federalism.”
Suthers addressed more than 200 people on Monday morning during the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Decision Time event, which was focused on providing clarity on the decision for the business community. The event was presented by Kaiser Permanente.
Joining Suthers were Patty Fontneau, executive director and chief executive officer of the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange, and Cindy Gillespie, senior managing director in McKenna Long & Aldridge’s public policy and regulatory affairs practice and leader of the organization's health care policy team.
The event came just one business day after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the PPACA as constitutional. Suthers and more than a dozen other attorneys general filed a lawsuit challenging the act – passed by Congress in 2010 – as unconstitutional; alleging the move coerced Americans into purchasing health care insurance. The suit was later joined by the National Federation of Independent Business.
As he waited for the Supreme Court to issue a final ruling on the challenge, Suthers predicted “the one thing” on which the court would not base its ruling would be whether the Act could be construed as a tax.
Suthers said he initially considered the ruling a “big loss,” but upon further reflection has come to believe it will be a “great limiter of federal power in the long run.”
Meanwhile, Fontneau said she believes the Act, which led to the creation of the Colorado Health Benefits Exchange, will provide individuals and small businesses with more transparency around the choices, cost and quality of various health care insurance plans.
The exchange is slated to be up and running by October 2013 to provide access to purchase plans that will become effective in January 2014.
“We are in a good position in Colorado,” she said.
Gillespie chimed in, noting that the issue is “not totally resolved, but it’s closer. In a pragmatic way, business has to continue on,” while implementation of the Act is hammered out.
Some of the measures needing clarification are: whether states will expand Medicaid, which can be decided on a state-by-state basis; how each state will define what is included in minimum essential benefits that must be provided to insurance recipients; and how affordability of insurance will be determined.
She encouraged businesses to “be prepared to turn on a dime,” as those decisions are rolled out.
Chamber President and CEO Kelly Brough encouraged employers to weigh in on the issue to help ensure the best outcomes for businesses and their employees.
“This ruling has critical implications for Colorado’s citizens and the business community,” she said.
About the Denver Metro Chamber
For nearly 150 years, the Denver Metro Chamber has been a leading voice for Colorado’s business community. With a membership that spans the state and includes 3,000 businesses and their 300,000 employees, the Chamber is an effective advocate for small and large businesses at the local, state and federal levels. Chamber affiliates, the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation, the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center, the Colorado Competitive Council and the Colorado Space Coalition, play a vital role in defining the economic landscape of our state. For more information, go to www.denverchamber.org.
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