Last night, Trump pretended he has a plan for health care. His only plan is to dismantle the ACA.

Last night, Colorado families gathered together to tune into the first presidential debate. And what they saw was one leader on the stage — and one pathological liar.

President Donald Trump knows all too well that he can’t defend his record of failure. From putting millions of Americans out of work, including more than 200,000 in Colorado alone, to waging a relentless campaign to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, Trump’s presidency has been an utter disaster for working families. So it’s no surprise Trump resorted yet again to spewing lies and empty rhetoric to distract from his failed leadership.

One of the biggest concerns of the night came near the end when Trump tried to, once again, undermine our vote-by-mail system through lies. Here in Colorado, we’ve had vote-by-mail for years and are considered the golden standard across the nation. Republicans and Democrats agree that it is easy, convenient, and official. No amount of conspiracies pushed by Trump or the GOP can change that fact.

Worse than Trump’s lies and tantrums was his agreement to condemn white supremacists on national television only to do the exact opposite. Trump delivered a rallying cry for the Proud Boys to “stand by.” For the president of the United States to fail to condemn white supremacy isn’t just beyond the pale, it’s un-American.

The only thing Trump’s embarrassing performance succeeded in doing last night was reminding Colorado voters that he is unfit to lead our country, or keep Americans safe and healthy.

Trump claimed that he was taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously. He has lied to Americans since February by deliberately downplaying the pandemic even though he knew how deadly it was. Trump told the truth to Washington insiders, but he misled the American public. Now, more than 200,000 Americans have lost their lives to the coronavirus, including over 2,000 Coloradans — more than any other country in the world.

Trump also said he had a plan to ensure access to affordable, quality health care. But nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, Trump has repeatedly attempted to undermine the Affordable Care Act, threatening to rip away health care coverage from working families, spike costs, and deny protections for pre-existing conditions. In fact, his lawyers are in court right now trying to tear down the ACA, and that case will be heard just one week after the election. That’s why Trump and Republicans are doing everything they can to jam a Supreme Court nomination through the U.S. Senate. If Trump and Republicans succeed, that justice could cast the deciding vote to overturn the ACA — and thousands of Coloradans could lose their coverage in the middle of a global pandemic and at a time when complications from COVID-19 could become the next deniable pre-existing condition.

Meanwhile, Trump’s health care plan has been crystal clear for the past four years: overturn the ACA and possibly rip health coverage away from 2.4 million Coloradans with pre-existing conditions. All while handing out massive giveaways to the wealthy and well-connected like himself.

Here’s the facts: the ACA has protected millions of Coloradans with pre-existing conditions from being denied coverage, and lowered our uninsured rate to 6.5%. Our state has led the way in ensuring that folks have the ability to obtain quality health care that won’t break the bank, largely thanks to Colorado Democrats who have worked tirelessly to pass bills to make sure that this is possible. From the $100 monthly insulin cap to policies that are lowering the costs of prescription drugs, increasing access to quality, affordable health care has remained a top priority for Colorado Democrats.

Health care has always been top of mind for Colorado voters. And this year, health care is on the ballot once again.

Unlike Trump, Joe Biden will protect and build on the ACA, expand access to quality, affordable health care, and lower costs. He will guide us safely through this global pandemic and, most importantly, he will be a president who brings us together instead of tearing us apart.

Last night, Joe Biden spoke directly to Colorado families about the challenges we’re facing and offered comprehensive plans to our most pressing issues. He offered a vision of courage over fear, unity over division, and compassion over hate. Coloradans were searching the stage for a leader with empathy and experience — and Joe Biden demonstrated that in spades.

This November, the stakes couldn’t be higher and the choice couldn’t be more clear. We have just 34 days left until the most important election of our lifetimes. We must make every single one of them count if we want to protect our health care, build our economy back better, and bring Americans together by sending Joe Biden to the White House this fall.

Morgan Carroll is a former President of the Colorado Senate and is the current Chair of the Colorado Democratic Party.

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