What would overturning the Affordable Care Act mean for Colorado kids and families?

Written by: Samantha Espinoza
Date Posted: November 13, 2020

Since Colorado implemented the Affordable Care Act (ACA), we’ve seen record low child uninsured rates (2.5 percent in 2015). However, because of the Trump administration’s ongoing efforts to repeal the ACA, Colorado’s progress has not only stalled, but reversed. The number of kids without health insurance in Colorado increased by 10,000 from 2018 to 2019 alone – the largest increase in uninsured kids in at least a decade.

The Trump Administration and 18 states are also supporting a lawsuit that seeks to strike down the Affordable Care Act. The lawsuit was heard in front of the Supreme Court this week and a ruling is expected this spring. If the lawsuit were to succeed, the Urban Institute estimates that more than 21 million people would lose health insurance across the U.S., not including the millions of people who would lose protection against discrimination for pre-existing conditions. The upcoming supreme court decision on whether to uphold the ACA or overturn it is crucial to Colorado kids and families.

Here is what we know about the potential impact if the Supreme Court was to overturn the Affordable Care Act according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

  • By 2022 the total uninsured rate in Colorado would increase from 10% to 20%.
  • A 95% increase in the uninsured rate for children 18-years-old and younger and a 147% increase for young adults (ages 19 to 26). For all age groups 26 and under, there would be about 200 thousand more people without health insurance.
  • An increase in the uninsured rate across race and ethnicity with non-Hispanic black people facing the largest increase (153% increase), followed by non-Hispanic white people (124% increase) and Hispanic people (62% increase).

The loss of health insurance coverage would be devastating for Colorado kids and families. The financial security provided by health insurance coverage reduces family stress and the toxic stress that can be experienced by children. Insurance coverage also improves health status, mental health, and access to health care, and decreases infant, child, and adult mortality rates. Insurance coverage impacts long-term outcomes as well. Kids with health insurance coverage are less likely to drop out of high school, more likely to graduate from college, and have higher incomes as adults.

Samantha Espinoza

About Samantha Espinoza

Sam joined the Colorado Children’s Campaign staff as a Policy Analyst after serving as their Government Affairs Intern while completing her MSW at the University of Denver. Her portfolio of policy issues includes child health, family planning and maternal and infant mental health. Sam is a military veteran whose greater part of professional experience is grounded in research, advocacy and supporting children who face adversity.