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Coloradans Protesting Obamacare Repeal: 'Why Do I Need To Suffer?'

By Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4) - Colorado's U.S. Senator Cory Gardner is playing a key role in drafting a Republican healthcare bill.

Gardner is among a group of senators who had lunch with President Trump Tuesday to discuss the bill's status.

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(credit: CBS)

The meeting happened as Obamacare supporters rallied outside Gardner's office in Denver. With eulogies and caskets, they mourned the death of Obamacare.

"If we end up with Trumpcare, nobody is really sure what will be covered and that's a little scary for us because Medicaid covers everything," says Elizabeth Colatrella, who has Multiple Sclerosis and is on Medicaid.

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Elizabeth Colatrella (credit: CBS)

A bill passed by House Republicans would cut Medicaid by more than $830 billion dollars.

The Senate is writing its own bill.

Gardner is part of the main working group that's helping draft the bill as well as a separate group that's focused on the Medicaid expansion. He says Medicaid was part of the discussion at the lunch.

US President Donald Trump (2nd L) has lunch with members of Congress at the White House in Washington, DC, including Colroado Senator Cory Gardner (credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

"President Trump made it very clear that he would like a bill that recognizes the needs of the American people and recognizes there are people who need programs like Medicaid and so ... let's make Medicaid sustainable; let's give states greater flexibility and the ability to run the program the way they know how that meets the needs of the individual state, because with $20 trillion dollars in debt what happens if we run out of the ability in this country to actually fund a viable Medicaid program? That would be a terrible crisis and we have to work to prevent that."

The Medicaid expansion covers 400,000 Coloradans, including Corletta Hithon, who turned out for the rally. She says she makes just above the poverty line.

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Corletta Hithon (credit: CBS)

"It's the working poor that's suffering," Hiton said. "I could pick a corner and maybe get some free money but I go to work every day. Why do I need to suffer?"

While there are reports the Senate could take a vote before the Fourth of July, Gardner says he hasn't seen a final draft of a bill yet. He says, right now, they are working on individual parts of the bill with the Congressional Budget Office.

Shaun Boyd is CBS4's political specialist. She's a veteran reporter with more than 25 years of experience. Follow her on Twitter @cbs4shaun.

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