Wright targets federal tax penalty in health care law

Rep. Jared Wright will join forces with another freshman Republican lawmaker this month and introduce a bill designed to help Coloradans who can’t get Obamacare.

The Fruita Republican, along with Rep. Dan Nordberg, R-Colorado Springs, plans to introduce a bill after the Colorado Legislature convenes Jan. 8 that would create a special state tax deduction that would be equal to the amount of the federal penalty imposed on anyone who fails to obtain health insurance.

Under the federal Affordable Health Care Act, also known as Obamacare, anyone who doesn’t get coverage would pay a $90 penalty next year on their federal income taxes, a penalty that would rise for each year they don’t have health insurance.

The two lawmakers are calling their measure the Healthcare Liberty Act.

“Many Colorado families are relying on us as their elected representatives to try to mitigate the adverse impacts of Obamacare,” Wright said in a release. “I hope my friends across the aisle will work with us in a bipartisan manner to provide some relief to thousands of Colorado families who have been negatively impacted by this law.”

Wright said the bill is needed because there are many Coloradans who won’t be able to afford health insurance.

Like the federal website that’s signing people up for health insurance, the state’s exchange also has lagged behind expectations in getting people to sign up. As of a week ago, only about 43,000 people had signed up.

Exchange officials say they need at least 100,000 enrollees to be viable.


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Other than making it so Coloradans are not insured—thus costing all of us much more in the long run—what solution is Rep. Wright proposing to make sure his constituents have adequate health care?

This might well be one of the first 10 bills killed in the House this year.

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