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'Utterly Appalled': Nearly 200,000 Colorado Health Plans to be Canceled Despite Obamacare Extension

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R) said he's "utterly appalled" by the Colorado Division of Insurance decision to cancel 190,000 health plans that don't comply with Obamacare regulations -- even though they have the authority to continue the old plans for another year under grandfathering rules announced last year.

Colorado insurance commissioner Marguerite Salazar told 9News that "by delaying it, it doesn't give us a good pathway into full implementation of the ACA."

"I feel like we gave people that year, we have a great robust market in terms of health insurance in Colorado," she said.

But Gardner said that "after all of the glitches, the increased costs and premiums, and the plan cancellations that Coloradans have already endured, the idea that the Division of Insurance would choose to cancel the healthcare plans of hundreds of thousands more people is unconscionable."

The senator said that last year he urged Gov. John Hickenlooper’s administration "to pursue any legal avenue to allow insurance providers to keep these plans for the foreseeable future."

"They listened at that time, and DOI had all the authority it needed to keep these plans around for at least another year, allowing individuals and families more of the time they need to adjust to this onerous new healthcare law. But DOI has decided to end these plans instead, forcing thousands of Coloradans to deal with the cancellation of their insurance," Gardner said in a statement.

“Once again, Coloradans are suffering from the effects of President Obama’s ill-conceived healthcare law. I continue to support fully repealing this law and replacing it with common-sense, market-driven legislation that could address the need for expanded health insurance coverage while keeping costs down. Until the law is repealed, however, we must do everything we can to ensure that Coloradans do not suffer needlessly because of it."

Gardner “strongly" urged the state's insurance department "to reconsider their position and allow those Coloradans who would be affected by this decision to keep their healthcare plans."

"Coloradans were promised by supporters of this healthcare law that if they liked their plans, they could keep their plans," he said. "DOI should follow through on that promise, and prove that last year’s extension wasn't simply an empty election year ploy to fool people into believing they were going to be able to keep the insurance they were promised.”

Channel 9News said about 75,000 of the people losing the ability to renew their noncompliant plans are on individual plans, while 115,000 are covered through small businesses.