As the Denver Post’s John Frank reports from the swanky Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, this weekend playing host to a convention of top donors to the Koch Brothers’ network of powerful conservative advocacy organizations–where Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, if the latest reports are true, faced a major backlash from conservative funders over Gardner’s own stated desire that the health-reform repeal legislation now being considered by the Senate protect the newly-insured population in Medicaid expansion states.
Surely he did, right? Right?
The leaders of the conservative Koch network on Saturday blasted the latest health plan alternative drafted by the Republican-led U.S. Senate, saying it doesn’t go far enough to dismantle President Obama’s health-care law.
“This Senate bill needs to get better,” said Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity, the network’s political arm. “It has to get better.”
…The Koch forces are particularly concerned that the bill isn’t conservative enough and it doesn’t do more to shrink the size of Medicaid, the government program that provides health care coverage to low-income adults, children and disabled people. [Pols emphasis]
Since the release of the U.S. Senate’s draft health care legislation on Thursday, several Republican Senators have come out publicly against the bill. Critically, however, they have not done so for the same reasons. Hard-line right wing Senators like Sen. Mike Lee of Utah and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, like the Koch Brothers and their allies, think the bill doesn’t go far enough. On the other hand, Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada opposes the legislation because it will throw too many Americans off the coverage rolls–especially, like Colorado, in his own Medicaid expansion state.
In an interview with reporters, Phillips said the Senate bill represents only a “slight nip and tuck.” But Gardner has expressed concerns the bill curtails Medicaid’s expansion [and] moves too fast. He was not available for an interview at the event. [Pols emphasis]
Because Sen. Gardner is not commenting on what discussions he is having at the Broadmoor this weekend about the repeal of Obamacare and with whom, we’re left as news consumers to speculate. And for honest debate’s sake we have to allow for the possibility that Gardner is running around the Broadmoor this weekend, begging the wealthiest conservative donors in America to reconsider their consensus that this bill doesn’t cut Medicaid enough. That instead of cutting off the millions who have gained access to care under the Affordable Care Act Gardner has vowed to repeal for going on seven years, we should protect those patients.
But folks, how likely is that, really? And if Gardner is not confronting the hard-right consensus that this bill does not go far enough to dismantle the Medicaid expansion, at this gathering where Republican politicos kiss the rings of their biggest donors, what exactly is he doing there?
It’s untenable. When we say Gardner’s two-faced politics are teetering on the brink of destruction, this is why.
The moment of truth is almost here.