Tipton Writes Medicaid Checks Trumpcare Won’t Cash

Rep. Scott Tipton (R).

The Vail Daily’s Randy Wyrick reports on GOP Rep. Scott Tipton’s telephone town hall Monday evening:

If you depend on Medicaid now, then Republican health insurance bills won’t change that, said Rep. Scott Tipton…

Tipton said multiple times that anyone who qualified for Medicaid in the past will get to keep it under the Republican plan.

“If you qualify, you will still receive those Medicaid dollars,” Tipton said. “If you qualify for Medicaid, your Medicaid will continue.” [Pols emphasis]

Medicaid was designed to help America’s most vulnerable, Tipton said. Their care is a point of agreement, regardless of politics, he said.

“If you are low income and you qualify for Medicaid, you will continue to qualify for Medicaid,” Tipton said.

So first of all, there’s a big difference between the House Obamacare repeal bill that Tipton voted for and the Senate’s bill now under consideration–doubly important now that the House bill is effectively dead. The House bill did in fact include a provision that allowed Medicaid patients who qualified under the Obamacare Medicaid expansion to stay covered–as long as they maintain “continuous coverage,” which as Politifact explains is not how Medicaid coverage works for many patients in many cases:

The GOP health care bill that passed the House, along with the “discussion draft” circulated in the Senate, make changes to Medicaid for people who acquired health care coverage through Obamacare.

The House proposal includes a grandfather clause that allows people covered by expanded Medicaid as of Dec. 31, 2019, to continue to qualify for a 90 percent federal match rate. But the “grandfathered expansion enrollees” would have to maintain near-continuous coverage in order to get the higher rate. Experts say that is extremely difficult because of changes in income or because of changes states could choose to make.

The Senate plan, which remains just a draft, continues the Medicaid expansion program largely as is until 2020, before beginning to reduce federal funding for all enrollees. That means either states will have to pick up a larger share of the cost or make changes to the program. [Pols emphasis]

In either scenario, changes are likely. It’s just a matter of when and how.

In the most charitable analysis Rep. Tipton is relying on outdated information based on a bill that is now more or less a footnote in the history books, to make promises about the future of Medicaid expansion patients that simply don’t comport with the facts. It wasn’t really factual with the bill he voted on, and it’s certainly not with the Senate’s bill as it’s written today.

And in the worst case, Tipton is knowingly flat-out lying–or at the very least, knowingly making statements that aren’t backed up by facts.

Wait never mind, that’s lying.

Gardner is mad about insurance costs, but they’d go up more under Obamacare replacement than under Obamacare

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

On a national conservative radio show Tuesday, guest hosted by Denver’s Ross Kaminsky, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) cited increased health-insurance costs and stated that the “most important thing we can do for this country is to make sure we have a replacement for Obamacare.”

But neither Kaminsky nor Gardner pointed out that under the U.S. Senate’s proposed Obamacare replacement, insurance rates are projected to go up more than they would if Obamacare remained in place, according to figures released by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

Gardner must not be reading The Denver Post, because Kaiser’s Colorado-specific facts were presented there, in an article by John Ingold:

[Under the Senate bill,] for a 40-year-old making $50,000 a year, a mid-level “silver” plan on the state’s insurance exchange would cost:

$1,930 more per year in Mesa County.
$0 more per year in Denver.
$910 more per year in Yuma County.

For a 60-year-old making $30,000 a year, the same level plan would cost:

$3,230 more per year in Mesa County.
$2,710 more per year in Denver.
$2,820 more per year in Yuma County.

For a 27-year-old making $20,000 a year, the same level plan would cost:

$700 more per year in Mesa County
$550 more per year in Denver.
$580 more per year in Yuma County.

Overall, the Kaiser report projects marketplace enrollees to pay 74 percent more in insurance premiums.

Kaiser Family Foundation: “Overall, marketplace enrollees would pay on average 74 percent more towards the premium for a benchmark silver plan in 2020 under the BCRA [Senate bill] than under current law (Table 1). Younger enrollees would see modest increases on average (10 percent for those under age 18; 17 percent for those ages 18 to 34), while average premiums would more than double for enrollees ages 55 to 64.

On the radio, Gardner said insurance “executives” told him that the Senate bill will “bend the cost curve down,” and they will be able to “reduce rates.”

This is in line with what he told Denver Post reporter Mark Matthews Monday.

“Over the weekend I had conversations with CEOs (including at least one official at) Blue Cross Blue Shield, who said their support for the bill is robust,” Gardner said of the health insurance giant. “They believe that it would markedly help stabilize the market, so I’ve got to go through each and every one of those arguments and see whether or not this achieves that.”

Gardner’s DC office did not return my call seeking the names of the insurance executives he spoke with and an explanation of why he would believe them more than the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

This post was updated with Gardner’s statement to The Denver Post Monday about his conversation with insurance industry CEOs.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (June 28)

Few things have become as strange as the daily White House press briefing.  It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.



► Republicans are scrambling to figure out their next steps after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell abruptly announced on Tuesday that the Senate healthcare bill (“The Better Care Reconciliation Act”) would not be rushed to a vote before Congress takes its July 4th holiday recess at the end of the week.

As the Washington Post explains, Republicans are having trouble finding a reason to push forward with a terrible healthcare bill:

Amid a revolt against the Senate health-care bill, supporters have seized upon something of a last-ditch argument: Whatever you think of this bill, they say, you owe it to your voters. Republicans have been promising for years to repeal and replace Obamacare, the argument goes, and not passing this bill will mean they will have broken their promise.

There is one big problem with that strategy: The GOP base doesn’t seem to see it that way.

Not only aren’t Republican voters particularly keen on this bill, but polls suggest they wouldn’t even blame their Republican members of Congress for failing to close the deal.

A new poll (Marist/NPR) shows that 55% of Americans disapprove of the Senate healthcare plan, with only 17% in favor of the bill. The polling trend lines have shown consistent downward movement.

As Politico reports, the Senate healthcare bill is not dead…yet…while the editorial board of the New York Times says the GOP’s “healthcare hoax” has been exposed.


► Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has been in Washington D.C. alongside a bipartisan group of Governors in opposition to the Senate healthcare bill. Hickenlooper and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, held a news conference on Tuesday that was highly critical of GOP healthcare efforts that would include devastating cuts to Medicaid. Hickenlooper specifically called out Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) in his remarks.

Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) is pushing back against Republican claims that Democrats are refusing to work with the GOP on healthcare legislation. Bennet took to the Senate floor on Tuesday to hammer this point home.


► A group of protestors with disabilities have been camping out at the Denver office of Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) since late Tuesday in an effort to persuade Gardner to oppose the Republican Senate healthcare bill. Gardner has been bullish on the Senate bill despite Monday’s awful score from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which estimated the legislation would cut health coverage for at least 22 million Americans.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Protesters With Disabilities Occupy Gardner’s Denver Office

UPDATE: Denver7’s Blair Miller, still going strong after 24 hours:

The protesters first took up residence in Gardner’s Denver office Tuesday afternoon, just hours after Senate Republicans decided not to try and vote on the Senate’s version of the bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017.

The office is in a large office building that also houses several other businesses. Police showed up to the office Tuesday evening for several hours, but never removed any of the protesters, who ended up staying overnight and remained there Wednesday afternoon.


KDVR FOX 31 reporting, a situation developing inside Sen. Cory Gardner’s downtown Denver offices:

A group of protesters spent the night in the lobby of Sen. Cory Gardner’s office in Denver on Tuesday…

They want Gardner to vote against the proposed federal health care bill, saying they believe it will cut Medicaid benefits to individuals who need them to survive independently.

“They depend on these services to be able to live in the community independently, and have jobs and be productive members of society, go to school. Families do all the things that we get to do and we don’t have to fight like this,” Hope Morris said.

The protest quickly turned into a sit-in after participants were reportedly denied access to the senator’s office.

“Police shut down the elevators, the fire department shut down the fire stairs,” Jose Torres-Vega said.

“They came in about 4 o’clock this afternoon and said they were going to start arresting folks,” Morris said.

Although police threatened the protesters, many of whom use power wheelchairs or have other disabilities, in the end they were not arrested. This appears to be a deliberate choice made by Sen. Gardner, looking to avoid the horrible scene outside Sen. Mitch McConnell’s offices last week as protesters with disabilities were dragged away by U.S. Capitol police:

“We have not asked for anyone to be removed from the office,” a Gardner spokesman said. “Sen. Gardner wants the constituents that were in his office today to have quality health care. He has concerns that our current system is imploding and won’t be able to provide quality care if nothing is done to fix it.”

As of this writing, the protesters remain camped out inside Gardner’s Denver offices. There are conflicting reports about whether they have access to such basic accommodation as bathrooms, though they reportedly did have access to them last night. The protesters are with a group called ADAPT, a disability rights organization with a decades-long presence in the Denver activist community. The protesters report via livestream that they are in good spirits, and for the moment well-supplied with food and other essentials coming from supporters outside. A public rally outside the building is set for 11AM today, and the situation is quickly accumulating media coverage.

We’ll be watching closely to see how this resolves–the protest began before Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called off the vote on the Senate’s Obamacare repeal bill, so there’s no predictable stopping point. Gardner is smart to refrain from ordering their arrest, but there’s nothing about this that adds up to good news for him.

It’s just another symptom of an unfolding political disaster.

Wednesday Open Thread

“We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.”

–Martin Luther King, Jr.

Kellyanne Conway: Let Them Eat Cake

Kellyanne Conway.

CNBC reports–this could honestly be the worst PR we’ve ever seen:

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway says people on Medicaid who will lose coverage under the Republican plan to repeal Obamacare could find jobs that provide health insurance…

“Obamacare took Medicaid, which was designed to help the poor, the needy, the sick, disabled, also children and pregnant women, it took it and went way above the poverty line to many able-bodied Americans,” she said. They “should probably find other — at least see if there are other options for them.” [Pols emphasis]

Conway went on: “If they are able-bodied and they want to work, then they’ll have employer-sponsored benefits like you and I do.”

There you have it straight from the Trump administration, folks! No need to screw around with lip service like Sen. Cory Gardner about “protecting” Medicaid expansion patients. Of course, there are some exceptions to Conway’s neatly-wrapped up little package about those millions of Medicaid expansion beneficiaries.

Rather than messing up Kellyanne Conway’s talking points, the exceptions should probably just die.

McConnell Bows To Inevitable–Trumpcare Vote Delayed

UPDATE: 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark is picking up what we’re throwing down:


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

CNN reporting, so much for that:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will delay the vote on the Republican leadership’s health care bill until after the July 4 recess, two sources told CNN.

McConnell told GOP senators that he wants to make changes to the bill, get a new Congressional Budget Office score and have a vote after the holiday.

A White House official and a GOP aide on the Hill told CNN that White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and Vice President Mike Pence invited all Republican senators to White House on Tuesday afternoon.

Republican leadership, along with Pence, had sought earlier to woo members of their own party into supporting the fragile health care bill behind closed doors Tuesday, as a fifth senator came out against voting for a procedural step to advance their plans to repeal and replace Obamacare.

We’re awaiting President Donald Trump’s Twitter freakout! Stand by for reax from Colorado electeds–many of whom we expect are breathing a sigh of relief, even if they can’t say so. At the top of that list may or may not be Sen. Cory Gardner, who now should have plenty of time to meet with his constituents back home to justify the bill he waxed positive about with the Denver Post’s Mark Matthews yesterday:

Gardner spoke more positively than not about the measure in a brief interview Monday on Capitol Hill.

“Over the weekend I had conversations with CEOs (including at least one official at) Blue Cross Blue Shield, who said their support for the bill is robust,” Gardner said of the health insurance giant… [Pols emphasis]

The degree to which Gardner is a true swing vote on the legislation, however, is a matter of debate.

The first-term senator was among 13 Senate Republicans tapped to help craft the bill — though Gardner contends he didn’t see the full text until last Thursday. His position as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee also puts him in the upper tier of GOP leadership and close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who took the lead in writing the legislation.

Back at the ranch as our readers know, support for the bill is not “robust,” and that is the reason why the vote scheduled for this week has now been unceremoniously cancelled. What changes to the bill that may be forthcoming before the next attempt at a vote are of course unknown, but the simultaneous need to satisfy conservatives who say the bill doesn’t cut enough and politically vulnerable “moderates” who say it cuts too much doesn’t bode well. In fact, it never did.

We are watching the #1 agenda item of the party now in complete control of the federal government, not to mention the stated top priority of Colorado’s highest-ranking Republican lawmaker, crash and burn.

Hickenlooper, Kasich Jab Senate Republicans on Healthcare

UPDATE: Via the New York Times–apparently you’re not the only one who can’t get ahold of Cory Gardner:

This can’t go on forever. It can’t, can it?


Gov. John Hickenlooper and Gov. John Kasich today in D.C. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

While Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) tries to ignore the CBO score of the Republican Senate healthcare bill, Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.) is in Washington D.C. with Gov. John Kasich (R-Ohio) to voice strong bipartisan disagreement with Trumpcare. From CBS News:

Democrat Hickenlooper applauded Kasich’s “courage” to stand up to Republicans, saying the health care debate “isn’t a political discussion, it’s a moral issue.”

“The fact that the Senate is going to do a bill in secret in a short period of time and try to sell the notion that this is an improvement of health care is a bad joke,” said Hickenlooper.

The governor said in his state alone, 188,000 people, more than half in rural areas, would see negative impacts by the bill, many losing coverage as a result.

“Governor Kasich and I won’t agree on everything, but agree we’ve got to control the rise in health care costs on all levels,” said Hickenlooper.

Hickenlooper echoed Kasich’s suggestions for bipartisan action on a new version of the bill, which he recommended would take 6-8 months to complete.

Kasich also dismissed the idea that the Senate bill could be more appealing if billions of dollars were included for specific opioid treatment programs. Kasich said on Tuesday that a “few billion” dollars for opioid addiction treatment in Ohio would be like “spitting in the ocean,” given the bill’s deep cuts to Medicaid.

Reporters should be clear about who’s backing the baker who discriminated against a gay couple

In wide coverage of the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a Colorado case in which a bakery refused to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple, reporters are almost universally failing to mention that the powerful legal organization backing the bakery has a long history of opposition to same-sex marriage, LGBT equality, abortion, and other rights that are under attack by the Christian right.

The organization, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), has a stated mission to “to keep the doors open for the Gospel by advocating for religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family,” as pointed out in an excellent Colorado Independent article yesterday.

But it’s actually more fair, in view of prevailing social norms and values, to label ADF as anti-LGBTQ organization that’s fundamentally opposed to the civil rights of gay people. That’s what the organization is about–and it should be described as such in the context of this case, especially because ADF is trying to present itself as defending the rights of the baker, Jack Phillips, to express himself as an artist and religious devotee.

“The government in Colorado is picking and choosing which messages they’ll support and which artistic messages they’ll protect,” Kristen Waggoner of the Alliance Defending Freedom, told The Denver Post yesterday. An ADF legal counsel, writing in today’s Denver Post, ludicrously referred to Phillips’ bakery as an “art gallery of cakes.”

ADF has no demonstrable interest in protecting artists. In fact, ADF has been on a crusade against homosexuality since its founding by Focus on the Family’s James Dobson and others in 1994. The organization’s anti-choice and anti-LGBT stances, including its efforts to overturn state laws banning discrimination against LGBT people, are widely documented, including the fact that ADF has backed efforts to criminalize homosexuality abroad. As illustrated here, ADF sits at the center of America’s network of Christian right groups. The SPLC officially added the organization to its anti-LGBT hate group list.

In a 2015 handbook designed to help religious entities discriminate without facing legal repercussions, ADF equates bestiality and incest with being LGBTQ–or even with participating in adultery, and using pornography.

“We believe that God wonderfully and immutably creates each person as male or female,” states the handbook. “These two distinct, complementary genders together reflect the image and nature of God. (Gen 1:26-27.) Rejection of one’s biological sex is a rejection of the image of God within that person.”

The handbook continues: “We believe that God intends sexual intimacy to occur only between a man and a woman who are married to each other. (1 Cor 6:18; 7:2-5; Heb 13:4.) We believe that God has commanded that no intimate sexual activity be engaged in outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. We believe that any form of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, bisexual conduct, bestiality, incest, and use of pornography) is sinful and offensive to God. (Matt 15:18-20; 1 Cor 6:9-10.)”

Here in Colorado, the face of ADF has long been Michael J. Norton, who left ADF recently to start the Colorado Freedom Institute, but he apparently continues to represent the group on occasion.

Norton, who drafted a 2006 amendment that voters added to the Colorado Constitution defining marriage as between a man and a woman, testified frequently at the state capitol and has been an outspoken advocate for anti-choice and anti-LGBTQ campaigns.

As I blogged previously, in Colorado, ADF was embraced by 33 Republican state legislators in 2015 to push for an investigation of Planned Parenthood. The lawmakers, who appeared to be led by State Rep. Dan Nordberg of Colorado Springs, included State Sen. Larry Crowder of Alamosa and State Sen. Tim Neville of Littleton.

In the Post’s opinion piece today, ADF’s lawyer writes that Phillips should “have his cake and freedom too.” Actually, it’s gay people who should have their wedding cake and freedom too. But they won’t, if ADF succeeds in blocking their basic human rights.

A baker, who discriminated against a gay couple, is very happy that U.S. Supreme Court will hear his case, lawyer says

(What Jesus would do? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Since 2012, conservative talk-radio hosts and lawmakers in Colorado have wrapped their loving arms around a baker who refused to sell a wedding cake to a gay couple.

A federal appeals court, as well as a string of Colorado courts, have found Masterpiece Cakeshop’s action in violation of  Colorado’s public accommodations law, which bars discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Now, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to hear the Masterpiece case, and the baker’s Colorado lawyer, Nicole Martin, said on KNUS 710-AM Monday that she “did a little jig” when she heard the news.

Asked by host Dan Caplis how the baker, Jack Phillips, reacted, Martin said, “He was very happy and I think humbled, and he always had faith in God’s plan. And that showed. But, yes, it is a profound moment for him, as you could imagine.”

“I think we have an excellent shot at winning,” said Martin on the radio. “I do.  Even with Kennedy, we feel that we will be vindicated. And, you know, at the end of the day, it is compelling that Jack will finally have his day in court.  When you start  in an administrative body, especially when you’re dealing with complex issues of First Amendment jurisprudence and Free Exercise jurisprudence, and you’re starting in a local Colorado administrative court, it is very hard to feel like you ever had your real day in court. It is very hard to feel that you ever had actual due process. So, this is an important vindication, that the Colorado Supreme Court, I think,  passed up a great opportunity. This is an important vindication that these issues need to be decided by judges that have the wisdom, experience, and expertise to decide these types of cases.”

In a news release Monday, a coalition of progressive groups, called Freedom for All Americans, spoke out against the Masterpiece baker’s discriminatory actions.

“As people of faith from many traditions, we are grounded in a common teaching, love your neighbor as you love yourself,” said Amanda Henderson, Executive Director, Interfaith Alliance of Colorado. “In our communities and in our country, all people should have the right to be treated equally under the law, and served in any establishment no matter who they are, what they believe, or who they love.”

Laura “Pinky” Reinsch, Political Director at One Colorado, added: “All hardworking people, including those who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or queer, should be treated fairly and equally under the law. When they walk into a business that’s open to the public, they should be treated like anyone else and not be discriminated against. Let’s be clear, the Masterpiece Cakeshop case is about a business turning customers away simply because they were gay, which violates longstanding Colorado law.”

In Colorado, in the wake of the Masterpiece controversy, GOP lawmakers tried repeatedly to pass legislation allowing discrimination against gays and others.


CBO: Senate Trumpcare Bill Reduces Insured By 22 Million



New York Times with the bad news for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Cory Gardner, and maybe you:

The Senate bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act would increase the number of people without health insurance by 22 million by 2026, a figure that is only slightly lower than the 23 million more uninsured that the House version would create, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Monday.

Next year, 15 million more people would be uninsured compared with current law, the budget office said.

The legislation would decrease federal deficits by a total of $321 billion over a decade, the budget office said.

The release of the budget office’s analysis comes as a number of reluctant Republican senators weigh whether to support the health bill, which the majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, wants approved before a planned recess for the Fourth of July…

Before the budget office released its report on Monday, the American Medical Association officially announced its opposition to the bill, and the National Governors Association urged the Senate to slow down.

Now, the budget office’s findings will give fodder to Democrats who were already assailing the bill as cruel. It could give pause to some Republican senators who have been mulling whether to support the bill — or it could give them an additional reason to come out against the bill altogether.

Savoring every morsel of disaster.

And for all that, as the Washington Post reports, the reality might be even worse:

For the Senate bill, the CBO’s estimates of insurance coverage and federal spending are influenced by the fact that its forecast covers a 10-year window and the legislation’s most profound changes for the nation’s health-care system are tilted toward the latter part of that period.

The bill would, for instance, leave in place the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid through 2020. After that, it would begin a three-year phaseout of the federal money that under the ACA has paid almost the entire cost of adding 11 million Americans to the program’s rolls in 31 states…

Over the weekend, the senior Democrat on the Senate subcommittee that oversees the CBO said in a tweet that he had asked the budget office to estimate the Senate bill’s effect on insurance coverage over a longer time horizon. “GOP is hiding the worst Medicaid cuts in years 11, 12, 13 and hoping CBO stays quiet,” wrote Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) [Pols emphasis]

Regardless of any clever accounting that might have been attempted to reduce the visibility of the pain, it’s clear now that the Senate’s Obamacare repeal legislation is no more defensible than the House’s bill. With only a small fraction more Americans protected, there’s little worry now about Republicans forcing us to debate between the House’s “worse” measure and the Senate’s “bad” one–they’re both really bad. That means the comparisons will be to existing law, meaning the status quo under the Affordable Care Act. The possibility that Senate Republicans might have gained leverage with a bill substantially less harmful than the House’s was one of the few real opportunities to break out of the present stalemate, but that is not what happened.

What we have now is legislation that almost certainly cannot pass the Senate. In his interview last week with Denver7 in which he admitted not being as involved in the drafting as we were led to believe, Sen. Cory Gardner laid out several conditions that the then-forthcoming bill would have to meet to gain his support: that the legislation reduce the cost of insurance, create “stability in the insurance markets,” and make Medicaid “sustainable.” It’s very difficult to argue that reducing the number of insured patients by tens of millions will bring “stability” to the market. As for making Medicaid “sustainable?” Unless that represents an abandonment of Gardner’s previous stated desire to protect Medicaid expansion patients, this bill won’t meet that test either.

The CBO’s estimate is bad enough that it could well doom this legislation before a vote even takes place, much like the CBO’s estimate of the first House bill forced Speaker Paul Ryan to pull that bill without a vote. At this point, the most politically face-saving outcome for Gardner would be for the bill to be pulled, which would leave Gardner in a position to say whatever he wants to say.

Otherwise, Gardner must take a vote that either damages GOP Senators he must defend next year as head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, or damages Gardner personally. Either way, today’s news just underscores the folly of this whole effort. Ending the GOP’s seven-year campaign to destroy the Affordable Care Act would have negative long-term consequences for Gardner, since he has invested disproportionate political capital into vilifying the law.

But at this point, keeping his promise could be Gardner’s worst choice.

Get More Smarter on Monday (June 26)

If you’re looking to hire some interns for the summer, please don’t do this. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.



► Today is another big day in the healthcare policy debate. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is expected to announce the results of its examination of the Republican Senate healthcare bill, also known as “The Better Care Reconciliation Act.” The Washington Post offers a good primer on what to look for in the CBO announcement.

The CBO score is expected to show, once again, that Republicans are dealing with a math problem — and not a messaging problem — when it comes to healthcare discussions. The looming report is one of many reasons why many Senate Republicans think the healthcare bill won’t be able to advance much further before next week’s July 4th recess.


► Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) spent the weekend at a conservative retreat in Colorado Springs hosted by the infamous Koch Brothers. The big message out of the weekend discussions at the Broadmoor Resort and Hotel centered around concerns from major right-wing donors that the Senate healthcare legislation doesn’t kill enough Americans isn’t more aggressive about eradicating Medicaid. Predictably, Gardner did not find time to talk to a reporter from the Denver Post about the Senate healthcare bill.


President Trump’s Muslim travel ban earned its first non-loss from the Judicial Branch. As the New York Times explains:

The Supreme Court announced on Monday that it would decide whether President Trump’s revised travel ban was lawful, setting the stage for a major decision on the scope of presidential power.

Mr. Trump’s revised executive order, issued in March, limited travel from six mostly Muslim countries for 90 days and suspended the nation’s refugee program for 120 days. The time was needed, the order said, to address gaps in the government’s screening and vetting procedures.

Two federal appeals courts have blocked critical parts of the order.

The administration had asked that the lower court ruling be stayed while the case moved forward. The court granted part of that request in its unsigned opinion.

This is indeed as confusing as it soundsPresident Trump, meanwhile, is declaring victory.


► Elsewhere in Supreme Court news, the case of a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a gay wedding will finally be heard this fall. From the Denver Post:

The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday that it would review the case of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple because of his beliefs — a legal fight with high stakes for both religious activists and civil-rights advocates.

For months, the high court has vacillated on whether it would hear the appeal of Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, whose refusal of service to Charlie Craig and David Mullins was rejected by the Colorado Court of Appeals and the state’s Civil Rights Commission.

There’s been one significant change to the Supreme Court, however, since the case first landed on its steps — the addition of Justice Neil Gorsuch, a native Coloradan who became its ninth member this spring after his nomination by President Donald Trump.



Get even more smarter after the jump…


Obamacare Replacement Legislation Aims to Block 30,000 in CO from Accessing Planned Parenthood Clinics

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) President Vicki Cowart announced figures last week that the Senate’s Obamacare-replacement bill would “block more than 30,000 women, men and young people in the Rocky Mountain region alone from accessing the trusted reproductive health care they rely on.”

“We will not stand by while politicians play these types of political games with the health care and livelihood of more than one third our patients,” said Cowart.

In a move long backed by anti-abortion groups, the Senate bill would cut federal funds that account for about 40 percent of Planned Parenthood’s budget.

“The expectations of the pro-life movement have been very clear: The health care bill must not indefinitely subsidize abortion and must redirect abortion giant Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding to community health centers,” Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List, and Tony Perkins, president of the right-wing Family Research Council, said in a statement, quoted by the New York Times.

Beginning around the time the House passed its Obamacare replacement legislation in May, PPRM has enlisted 800 new Planned Parenthood activists, organized monthly events, and targeted U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner with letters and petitions demanding that he stop the GOP Obamacare-replacement bill.

The Planned Parenthood defunding effort may prove to unwind the Republican legislation, as GOP Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have strongly objected to it. If three GOP Senators vote against the health care bill, it would lose, as Senate Democrats unanimously oppose it.

Senate rules may block the defunding effort, according to PPRM and some political observers.