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TOP OF MIND TODAY…
► A group of protestors with disabilities who were staging a sit-in at the Denver office of Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) chanted on Thursday that they “would rather go to jail than die without Medicaid.” The response from Gardner’s office: Why not both?
A group of advocates, many of whom who are disabled, were removed and arrested by Denver police after more 48 hours of protest at U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s office. The advocates took up residency to demand the Republican senator from Colorado vote against the Senate health care bill…
…a spokesman for the Denver Police Department said the department acted on a signed complaint from a representative from Gardner’s office. A total of ten protesters were arrested and now face a primary charge of trespassing.
The protest at Gardner’s office has become a national story. Hundreds of thousands of people have viewed the Facebook Live video from the arrests:
► If you’ve checked your email at all in the past 36 hours, you are probably aware that tonight is a big fundraising deadline. Candidates for state and federal offices have until 11:59 pm to collect donations that will be included on their Q2 finance report. Some candidates may release fundraising numbers for Q2 in the coming days, but full reports will not be available to the public until mid-July.
As health-care legislation continues to stall, President Trump pitched a new idea in a tweet Friday morning, suggesting that the Senate could repeal the Affordable Care Act now and deal with replacing it later.
“If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!” the president tweeted from his personal account.
Doing so could leave in the lurch more than 20 million Americans who now have private health plans or Medicaid coverage under the ACA and would lose that insurance with no guarantee of any alternative. And the tweet seems to contradict Trump’s earlier promises that he would provide “insurance for everybody” and that he would repeal and replace Obamacare as soon as he took office.
If at first (and second, and third, etc.) you don’t succeed…bring out the dynamite.
► Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams rolled over quickly after a request to release massive amounts of voter data from President Trump’s so-called “Election Integrity Commission.” As Denver7 reports:
The vice chair of President Donald Trump’s controversial Election Integrity Commission wants the full name, address, date of birth, affiliated political party, last four Social Security number digits and voting history since 2006 of every voter not only in Colorado, but in the entire U.S., and wants that information to be made available to the public…
…the ACLU of Colorado balked at Williams’ adherence to the request, saying it was part of a voter suppression effort by the government.
“President Trump’s baseless claim that millions of illegal voters participated in the 2016 election has been summarily debunked. Yet the federal government is pushing forward on a massive voter suppression effort based on myths and outright lies about voter fraud,” said ACLU of Colorado Public Policy Director Denise Maes. “Colorado’s Secretary of State should not willingly participate in a politically-motivated federal campaign to intimidate voters and suppress the vote.”
The commission Kobach is the vice chair of was created earlier this year after Trump made his false claim that several million people voted illegally in last year’s election.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► Aurora Sentinel editor Dave Perry has plenty to say about disabled protestors being arrested at the Denver office of Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma):
Of course it’s theater. Of course these protesters did this for attention. They honestly want America to know that tax cuts for the rich to curb Medicaid affects real people with real problems. These are those people, bound by wildly expensive wheel-chairs, drugs, treatments and other encumbrances. They don’t want to die, and they have no way to prevent that other than allowing the rest of us to pay for their care.
Why is that so wrong? When did America become a country filled with selfish, greedy jerks who flagrantly preach the importance of being good Christians and force it down everyone’s throats, all the while forgetting the most critical Christian traits — mercy, compassion and charity?
These handicapped people just wanted Gardner to promise them he would vote against a bill that clearly puts Medicaid, and their very lives, at risk. Gardner’s track record so far is that of a party loyalist. He’s so far tried to please Trump while trying at the same time to distance himself from America’s onerous commander in chief. So no one expected Gardner to rise to occasion of putting this cause before his party standing at any and all costs… [Pols emphasis]
…Would it have set a bad precedent to give in to a group of protesters and stop to talk to them? Yes. But what better bad precedent to set than to show some mercy, kindness and respect to a group of people who depend on all of us to go out of our way for them, so they can try and provide the same life for themselves that we take for granted?
If that makes me a loser, instead of being a fighter, or if makes me a pawn of the Democrats, I’m OK with it. I’m in good company.
► Elsewhere, Mike Littwin of the Colorado Independent has lots of questions for Gardner:
I saw a list the other day of Republican senators who could possibly vote against Trumpcare. There were something like a dozen on the list. They were seen as moderates or senators from states that Hillary Clinton carried or senators who can’t quite get on board with crushing Medicaid or right-wingers like Rand Paul who don’t think Trumpcare is quite mean enough.
One senator not on the list was Cory Gardner. Yes, he represents a moderate state that voted for Clinton. Yes, he knows full well that when he runs again in 2020 (with Trump probably heading the ticket) that he will almost certainly face a Democratic opponent ready to make healthcare a major issue.
Wouldn’t you love to know why every insider seems so certain that Gardner’s vote is such a sure thing? I wouldn’t expect an answer, but I’m trying to imagine how great it would be just to hear the question.
► Donald Trump’s Twitter account, which may or may not be making autonomous decisions about the fate of the free world, is taking heat from both sides of the political aisle after a very un-Presidential series of personal attacks were sent on Thursday morning from President Trump. Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) is among those who are calling on Trump to STFU on Twitter.
► The Colorado Commission on Affordable Health Care says that state officials will need to demonstrate “extraordinary public leadership” in order to keep healthcare costs from spiraling out of control in coming years. As the Denver Post reports, the overarching theme of recommendations from the Commission boils down to one word: Transparency.
The report argues that transparency in pricing and outcome data will help patients, doctors, hospitals and insurers all make better choices. The commission recommends developing an easy-to-understand database where people can look up what certain procedures generally cost, and it also pitches a pilot program that would provide state employees with more transparent price and benefit information for elective procedures. If successful, the pilot program could serve as a model for private employers, said Bill Lindsay, the commission’s chairman.
“Transparency works for not just the consumers but also the providers,” Lindsay said in an interview. “…Markets can’t work if there isn’t transparency with what’s happening.”
► The 2018 ballot in Colorado is going to be longer than Moby Dick, so voters can at least take a breath in 2017 knowing that there will be no statewide ballot measures awaiting their decision.
► Contractors for the U.S. Air Force on Thursday delivered two expensive water filters intended to help cut down on the level of pollutants in the water system of Fountain, Colorado residents.
► The Colorado state office of the Bureau of Land Management will soon be operating under an interim director. The current state director, Ruth Welch, has been reassigned as the director of policy and administration for the national BLM office headquartered in Denver.
► The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) issued a new report on Thursday with more terrifying numbers on the impact of proposed Republican healthcare legislation. From the New York Times:
Projected Medicaid spending under a Senate Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act would be 35 percent lower after two decades, the Congressional Budget Office said on Thursday in a new report, which detailed how Medicaid changes would cut more deeply as they go fully into force.
The budget office analysis created a fresh challenge for Republican leaders as they tried to muster support for their bill, even as senators scattered to their home states for a 10-day July 4 recess. The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, entertained a stream of senators on Thursday, trying to reach agreement on the contents of a revised bill.
But by the end of Thursday, Mr. McConnell’s caucus still appeared far from a consensus, and it was unclear when a new version of the bill would be ready.
The nonpartisan budget office had already said that the bill would cut projected Medicaid spending 26 percent in 2026. “A large gap would grow between Medicaid spending under current law and under this bill,” the new report said, and that gap would widen, so that federal Medicaid spending in 2036 would be more than a third lower under the bill than under the Affordable Care Act.
► Arapahoe County District Attorney — and GOP gubernatorial candidate — George Brauchler is pretending that he has a firm understanding of the CBO process.
► The State Senate leader in Illinois, Republican Christine Radogno, announced her resignation in the wake of news that the state is facing a breathtakingly-massive budget crisis.
OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK
► A new poll shows that the Senate healthcare bill could prove to be devastating to Republican efforts to maintain their Congressional majorities in 2018.
► Twelve percent. The Senate Republican healthcare plan has the support of just 12% Americans.