Exchange this fight for bipartisan effort

The fact that the Colorado Senate passed legislation this week to create a state-sponsored health care exchange is welcome news. But it’s disappointing that the vote to pass it was strictly along party lines, with only Democrats voting for it.

We certainly hope more Republicans get behind the bill in the House, where it is sponsored by the Republican House Majority Leader Amy Stephens of Colorado Springs.

One doesn’t have to be a supporter of the Affordable Health Care Act — often called Obamacare — to understand the benefit of a state-operated health care exchange. In fact, those who object vehemently to the Washington-driven aspects of the Health Care Act should be especially supportive of a Colorado-created health care exchange. If the state doesn’t establish its own exchange, the federal government will create one for us.

It’s true that the Health Care Act could eventually be declared unconstitutional and there would no longer be a threat of the federal government creating an exchange. But that’s far from a certainty. Legal scholars are split on whether the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold or reject Obamacare.

Even if the law is overturned, Colorado won’t be harmed by having an exchange in place. An exchange is a means of expanding the insurance market in Colorado, by offering insurance companies and consumers a place to sell and shop for more diverse and affordable insurance policies.

Why would Republicans object to a measure that increases the market for insurance policies, may attract more insurance providers to the state and offers consumers additional insurance options?

Just because the exchanges were part of a massive health care bill that many voices opposed — including this newspaper — doesn’t mean they are inherently bad. Many business organizations support them because they are a market-driven solution for dealing with a portion of our unsustainable health care system.

When the measure goes before the Colorado House, we hope many Republican state representatives, including Laura Bradford and Ray Scott of Grand Junction, will support it.


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