Gardner wants to lower insurance rates, but why did he vote to increase costs?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

With U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) first solo town hall in about 500 days coming up tomorrow, it’s worth reviewing how Gardner responded to questions at the skinny town hall he held in Durango, with other lawmakers, Aug. 4.

As expected, Gardner was was asked repeatedly about his votes for Obamacare replacement legislation that would have thrown tens of millions off the Medicaid insurance rolls. Gardner’s core defense, which he’s repeated numerous times, is: He’s mad as hell about health insurance costs and he wants a plan to lower them.

In Durango Gardner said (at 36 minutes 30 seconds here): “What we have right have right now isn’t working… What have to do  is find something that is actually going to do what you and I think both want to do, and that’s find something a way to drive down the costs of healthcare. We have to drive down the costs of health care.”

Everyone would love to bring down the cost of health care, but Gardner has yet to put a proposal on the table that would do this.

For example, the Obamacare replacement bill (BCRA) that Gardner voted for in the U.S. Senate, which was defeated by a 57-43 vote, would have increased insurance rates by 74 percent for market place enrollees above what’s expected under Obamacare, according to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

So Gardner voted for legislation that would make insurance costs worse! Why? The senate bill wouldn’t have improved market insurance rates for anyone in Denver, Mesa, or Yuma counties.

Another point worth revisiting from Gardner’s skinny town hall was his assertion that he wants to “stabilize the insurance markets.”

In Durango Gardner said (at 36 minutes 30 seconds here): “What we ought to do is stabilize the insurance markets. We we ought to do is put Medicaid in a sustainable fashion, keeping that important safety need. So that it is there for people in this country who truly need it… I believe we can do better. And that’s why I hope we have a bipartisan solution.”

Recall that Gardner helped sabotage Obamacare by stripping from the healthcare law a program to stabilize insurance markets.

Then, Gardner voted for the same program when it was included in Senate repeal-and-replace legislation (BCRA).

Denver Post article should stop conservatives from misrepresenting the Medicaid budget

I can’t tell ya how excited I was to read, “Is Medicaid Gobbling Up Colorado’s Budget,” in The Denver Post, and reporter John Ingold did not let me down.

The piece provides a sober look at the repeated Republican allegation, documented multiple times on this blog, that if not for Democrat-led healthcare spending on children, elderly, disabled, and other poor people, there would be no budget crisis and the pavers would likely be doing their thing on every street corner.

Here are some takeaways from Ingold’s piece:

Killing Obamacare won’t free up money for roads, schools, or other wish-list spending.

We already knew this, but Ingold nails the door to the crazyhouse shut by finding out from Henry Sobanet, Hick’s budget director, that the small percentage of Colorado dollars that pay for Obamacare, also called the Medicaid expansion, can’t be used for general budget expenses.

“We could cancel the expansion, and we wouldn’t save a dollar in the general fund,” Sobanet told Ingold.

But something tells me, if I turn on the radio this morning, I’ll still hear a conservative blaming Obamacare for Colorado’s budget crisis.

Expunging “able-bodied” people from Colorado’s Medicaid rolls won’t do much for roads or the budget

That’s because, as Ingold reports, cutting “non-disabled adults” from Medicaid would free up “hundreds of millions of dollars” out of a $10 billion budget:

…Colorado could remove all non-disabled adults from the program — cutting its Medicaid population almost in half —  and the savings to use elsewhere in the budget would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars, not in the billions of dollars. (The state’s total general fund budget this year is $10.6 billion.)

And if you cut non-disabled people from Medicaid, you’re left with the collateral social costs of dealing with the lives you’ve blown up, not to mention the weight on your conscience from your decision to reject this group of people, who mostly the working poor.

Colorado’s Medicaid costs are increasing, but actual-factual ways to bring down costs are cruel and illusive. 

Ingold reports, “Tackling bigger areas of general-fund Medicaid spending means focusing on other groups. People with disabilities and people in nursing homes, for instance, make up 10 percent of the state’s Medicaid enrollment — but account for 42 percent of state Medicaid spending.”

Who are the “able-bodied” adults whom conservatives want to kick off Medicaid?

This question is left unanswered in Ingold’s otherwise excellent article, and it’s a seriously important question, because the phrase “able-bodied” has become a buzzword among conservatives at the top of the heap, like U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, to talk-radio hosts, and others at the bottom of the heap, for attacking Medicaid recipients. U.S. Rep. Ken Buck expressed the view clearly when he told The Boulder Daily Camera: “I’m not in favor of able-bodied people with no child care responsibilities getting squat.”

I’ll write more about this later, but it turns out, in short, able-bodied Medicaid recipients are truly poor people, most of whom are actually working.

In fact, 75 percent of the adults who got health insurance under Obamacare, about 400,000 in Colorado, who make up a sizable chunk of the “able-bodied” Medicaid group, are working. For a single adult, to be eligible for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, you have to earn less than $16,00. For a family of four, it’s about $32,000.

Bottom line: This article should help fact-conscious politicians have more informed debates about Medicaid spending in Colorado. And it should help stop the stomach-turning scapegoating of low-income people that we hear from conservatives.

Has Coffman become a pile of mush?

Rep. Mike Coffman broke from conservative orthodox thinking last week when he stated that there’s “not taxpayer funding for abortion.”

That may not sound like such a big deal to you, if you know that the 1976 Hyde Amendment bans federal funding for abortion, unless the life of the person having the baby is at risk–or a victim of rape or incest.

But the Republican crusade against funding Planned Parenthood is rooted in the falsehood that the organization uses Medicaid and other funds from the feds for abortions, even though it doesn’t.

Would Coffman actually vote for Planned Parenthood funding at this point?

That would be something to see, because Coffman has voted against Planned Parenthood funding six times and counting, even though the organization serves over 2,000 clients in Coffman’s own Aurora.

And what’s more, Coffman, as I discuss in a Rewire post today, co-sponsored the 2011 “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” which aimed to “prohibit taxpayer funded abortion.”

So it’s kinda shocking that Coffman would stand up at his town hall and, essentially, say it isn’t so, that taxpayers don’t fund abortion.

But now that he’s said it, and he continues to infuriate his anti-abortion base, the question is, can he get away with it?

As far as I know, he’s never explained his own personal evolution from no-abortion-even-for-rape-victims to his current I’m-mostly-against-abortion-and-want-it-outlawed.

It might be difficult for Coffman to come up with an explanation that doesn’t sound fake, even if it isn’t. But regardless, what are Coffman’s base voters thinking at this point? Has he become such a pile of mush that no one, on the right or left, likes him? That could set up his downfall.

 

Coffman’s support for killing Obamacare via repeal later raises questions

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Recall that Congressman Mike Coffman of Aurora promised to vote for the first House measure to kill Obamacare, a repeal-and-replace measure that would have taken away health insurance from millions of people.

Then he voted against the second House repeal-and-replace bill, which also would have pushed millions off the health insurance rolls, and it seemed his first promised vote disappeared.

Now it turns out that he’d have also voted for the repeal-later measure, which would leave an unknown number millions with no health insurance.

Asked by 9News’ Marshall Zelinger Aug. 6 (at 1:30 here) if he’d support a “straight repeal,” Coffman replied:

Coffman: “If you said, ‘Well, okay, we’re going to repeal,’ and the date certain for the repeal was long enough out, where it wouldn’t disrupt the markets, and it gave Congress adequate time, I think that would be appropriate.”

It’s worth getting more details from Coffman, whose office doesn’t return my calls, in case it comes up again.

Why does he think there could be agreement on an Obamacare replacement in the future when there was no agreement in seven years?

When he says he wants a date-certain for an Obamacare repeal to be “far enough out,” does he mean longer than seven years? How long?

Why wouldn’t the uncertainty of not having a replacement in hand disrupt the markets no matter how “far out” the repael date is, given the inability of Republicans to agree on a replacement in seven years?

Those are a few of the questions for Coffman.

An early version of this post incorrectly characterized Coffman’s proposal as repeal-now-and-replace-later.

Durango officials pressed Gardner and others to allocate more time for questions at skinny town hall

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

Last week’s skinny town hall, with U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and other Colorado lawmakers, was originally scheduled to last 45 minutes, with about 10 minutes going to each of four lawmakers, followed by a question-and-answer period lasting maybe five minutes.

That plan was scrapped not at the request of Gardner or the other politicians, but at the insistence of the event’s moderators and local officials who were unhappy with the time allocation and decided to push for a longer question period, according to one of the moderators.

“We just committed all of them to three minutes each instead of ten, so that left more time,” La Plata County Commissioner, and co-moderator of the event, Brad Blake told the Colorado Times Recorder today. “We asked them, ‘Well how about if you guys just do three minutes instead of 10. We’ll hold you to that, and there will be more time.’ And that’s what happened.”

Blake said the decision to push for more time came from him, Durango Mayor Dick White, a co-moderator, and a county official.

“We talked to them and their handlers about, ‘Hey, we’d really like to get some more question-and-answer time in,'” said Blake. “People don’t want to hear a ten-minute opening from everyone. They wanted more discussion.”

As it was, the question time was limited to 30 minutes (total, for four lawmakers present) during the formal portion of the event, and Gardner and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) stayed for additional questions.

Also at the skinny town hall were U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO) and Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.

 

A leading Colorado Republican says Democrats have secret plan to create “terrible” roads

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDTATE 8-9-17: Neville responded via Twitter with a request to get the “story right.”

“It isn’t a ‘secret plan,'” tweeted Neville. “It is a deliberate plan that is out in the open.”

Neville did not respond to a request from the Colorado Times Recorder to provide a copy of the Democrats’ plan or to explain how he knows it’s deliberate and out in the open.

—–

UPDATE – Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran (D-Denver) responded today:

“Minority Leader Neville’s comments are absurd. Democrats led efforts to bring a sustainable, statewide transportation fix before voters this year to fix our outdated and overburdened transportation system, and to ensure that rural Colorado isn’t left behind, without cutting other key priorities like education. And when Republicans killed that bill in the Senate, it was Democrats who then fought to prioritize transportation funding in SB 267.

These allegations of a plan to undermine our transportation system are absolutely ridiculous, and it’s a shame that Rep. Neville would rather make excuses for his own party’s inaction on this critical issue than work with us toward viable solutions to our state’s very real needs. We’ve grown accustomed to seeing this finger pointing from Republicans in Washington who have been unable to govern effectively. But I’d expect more from state leaders like Rep. Neville.”

——-

State Rep. Patrick Neville (R-Franktown), the leader of State House Republicans, thinks Democrats have a secret “plan” to intentionally make Colorado’s roads “so terrible and so awful” that voters will approve a tax increase to fix them.

“And I personally think that this is a plan to make our roads so terrible and so awful that voters will vote for a tax increase,” Neville told KNUS guest host George Athanasopoulos this morning. “That’s what the Democrats want. And it’s part of a plan. And this is nothing new. It’s the same thing Governor Ritter did in the late nineties.” Aug. 7 hour 1 at 17 min 30 seconds here.

Now that’s a big story, but unfortunately I was unable to confirm Neville’s allegation in on-the-record or off-the-record interviews, on background, or via deep throat.

Neville did not immediately return a call seeking details about the alleged Democratic plan, including which Democrats are involved.

Neville’s comments came during a discussion of the budget squeeze faced by Colorado lawmakers.

Both Neville and Athanasopoulos contended that Democrats have de-prioritized transportation spending in favor of funding what they called non-essential programs, like RTD’s Bustang bus service, and Colorado’s “Medicaid expansion,” which is actually over 90-percent funded by the federal government, thanks to Obamacare, and is objectively not a significant drain on Colorado’s budget.

“Unclear” schedule of U.S. Senate precluded Gardner, but not Bennet, from planning a real town hall

(Who? What? Town hall? Is today Tuesday? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

During a conference call with constituents Wednesday, U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) said that he’d hold a town hall meeting as soon as he gets his “schedule in Washington figured out.”

“Whether we are in session next week is a little unclear right now,” he said.

But U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) did not have the same problems with his schedule, announcing yesterday that he’d be holding town halls Monday and Tuesday in Greeley and Sterling respectively.

Instead of a serious town hall, Gardner announced yesterday that he’d hold today’s anemic “town hall” in Durango, during which four Colorado lawmakers plan to take questions for a total of 30 minutes, according to reports heard by 9News anchor Kyle Clark, up from about five minutes, as reported yesterday.

It’s not known whether Gardner was referring to the Durango event, scheduled after a tour today of the Gold King Mine, when Gardner stated stated on his conference call Wednesday:

Gardner: I hope that we’ll be announcing very soon a town hall, as we get the schedule in Washington figured out . Whether we are in session next week is a little unclear right now.

Gardner’s came under heavy criticism Wednesday calling the Durango event a “town hall,” because it was announced just 24 hours in advance, and it allotted so little time for questions. Gardner hasn’t held a town hall for 494 days.

Ex-Jeffco school board member sounds the alarm on “Spiritual Warfare”

(At least she’s not your school board member…anymore! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Back in 2015, before conservatives were removed from the Jeffco School Board, the Independence Institute’s Dave Kopel, a conservative, made the memorable observation that school board member Julie Williams got the “rest of the board into trouble with a lot of  foolish, barely thought-out ideas she has expressed inappropriately.”

She’s still saying such things, as evidenced by a Facebook post last week, obtained by a source.

Williams posted an article headlined, “Something Wicked Is Creeping Into U.S. Homes,” which stated, “The U.S. entertainment industry is entrenched with devil worshipers who are actively working to promote and normalize satanism in American culture.”

Williams commented, “Spiritual Warfare is getting stronger…Lord be with us.”

Recall Williams incited protests when she proposed sanitizing American history courses in Jeffco schools.

It’s not known if she would have wanted to put more emphasis on the alleged threat posed by lurking devil worshipers who might want to normalize satanism in Jeffco.

Five Minutes Allocated for Questions for Gardner on Friday

(We’re not going to call this a “town hall” meeting — promoted by Colorado Pols)

A much anticipated “town hall” meeting with U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and other politicians, scheduled to take place in Durango tomorrow, may include just five minutes for questions from constituents, according to one of the event moderators, La Plata County Commissioner Brad Blake.

“There’s not going to be much time,” Blake told the Colorado Times Recorder today. “I think people are going to be deeply disappointed.”

Blake explained that U.S. Sens. Gardner and Michael Bennet (D-CO), U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO) and Gov. John Hickenlooper are slated to speak for 10-12 minutes each. And the event will last 45 minutes.

And it appears that the event cannot be lengthened.

“The unfortunate thing is, the governor has a really tight turnaround time frame,” said Blake. “So do the senators. They’ve got to catch planes to get to other areas. So it’s pretty discouraging that they are not going to be able to spend more time to answer questions.”

But the questions will not be restricted, Blake said.

“The public will be permitted to ask a broad range of questions,” Blake said. “I would imagine there will be a good number of questions that do not relate to the mine or the mine spill.”

“This is the first time in my recollection that we’ve had the governor and both senators and the congressman in one place in Durango,” Durango’s Mayor Dick White, the event’s co-moderator, told the Colorado Times Recorder. “And so this is a very big deal for us. I’m sure a lot of people will come out. There will be lots of questions, and not a whole lot of time to answer them. So I think we’re going to have to be pretty brutal about keeping people to asking short questions.”

Gardner touted his appearance at a town hall meeting today. It would be his first in 493 days. His constituents, some toting cardboard cutouts of the senator, have been demanding for months that he answer questions at a public meeting.

Friday’s event follows a meeting with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a tour of the Gold King Mine, the site of 2015’s disastrous wastewater spill that contaminated the Animas River.

The announcement comes barely 24 hours before the town hall is slated to take place in one of the most isolated regions of the state, likely preventing many of the progressive activists who have focused their attention on Gardner from being able to attend the event.

The event will take place in the La Plata County Administration Building Board Room at 1101 E. 2nd Ave. Doors open to the public at 1:45 p.m., with the event lasting from 2:15 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Madeleine Schmidt contributed to this article.

Ken Buck “Very Happy” as Part of “Dead” Republican Party

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Despite his belief that the Republican Party is “dead” and its soul “has rotted,” U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) loves his job as Congressman.

“I am very happy where I am,” Buck told KNUS’ Dan Caplis yesterday. “And I am really feeling emboldened, in a lot of ways, about things – having a voice that can try to change the direction of policy in DC. And so I’m very thankful for that.”

And Buck apparently has no plans to drop his GOP affiliation, even though some candidates might not want to be associated with a dead party.

Buck told KNUS’ Boyles today:

Buck: “There is still a Republican Party that is registered with the Secretary of State. You’ll still see it on the ballot. But in terms of a political party, who is fighting for the conservative beliefs that that you and I share – and that many others share – the Party is dead.”

But Buck has concluded that “the soul of the Republican Party has rotted, and the Party has died from within.”

Buck believes the Republican Party can rise from the dead, at least according to an op-ed he wrote in The Denver Post Monday.

Gardner again undecided on latest proposal to blow up Obamacare

(Respectfully submitted: no he isn’t – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

After first being undecided and then voting for three GOP proposals to kill Obamacare, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner says he has yet to figure out whether he’s supportive of the latest Republican healthcare proposal, put forth by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), which would, among other things, end Obamacare’s Medicaid subsidies and, instead, block grant most of Medicaid expansion funds to the states.

Asked this morning by KDMT’s Jimmy Sengenberger if could see himself supporting the Cassidy-Graham plan, Gardner said he was “certainly” “interested in it,” but declined to throw his support behind the measure.

“Yeah, I’d have to get the specifics of it,” Gardner told Sengenberger. “But I certainly am interested in it. And I think it’s the right direction, in terms of giving the states more empowerment and the tools that they need to make a solution, anywhere from Burlington to Grand Junction and everywhere in between, how they can tailor it to the needs of the state. So, it is something that I am very intrigued by. I’d have to understand how the formula works a little bit. And they’re being very quiet about how the formula would work. But it does sound like it could result in a 42% increase in funding for the state of Colorado. And so, I just need to learn more about it.”

Listen here, hour 2

Vox’s Sarah Kliff described the Cassidy-Graham plan as such:

The proposal would eliminate the health care law’s subsidies for private insurance and end the Medicaid expansion. The health insurance marketplaces would no longer exist as they are envisioned to continue under other Republican proposals.

The federal government would convert some (but not all) of that spending into a lump-sum payment to states. States could choose to spend this money on providing insurance — or they could use it to fund high-risk pools, or do other activities to pay the bills of patients with high medical needs. States wouldn’t get this money for free: They’d be required to kick in a small percentage themselves.

The plan hasn’t been scored by the Congressional Budget Office yet, but analysts who have studied Cassidy-Graham estimate it would cut deeply into federal funding for the health law programs, likely resulting in millions losing coverage.

Gardner described the Cassidy-Graham as a proposal “to create a block grant system that would give the states control over their Medicaid dollars – their insurance dollars—and let the states create a system that is tailor-made to the people of their states, recognizing the differences between a Colorado and a Connecticut, and how each state can tailor their own approach. So, that’s an idea that continues to be talked about, and we’ll see how that goes.”

On air, Gardner lamented to Sengenberger that recent U.S. Senate actions on healthcare were not bipartisan, and he wants Democrats to join him in a bipartisan effort to fix the health care system in America–even though Gardner was a leader of a completely partisan and secretive GOP strategy to kill Obamacare in the U.S. Senate.

Asked by Sengenberger why he thinks the stock market is doing so well, Gardner said the “regulatory relief” passed by Congress as “working.” To increase wage growth, Gardner said business growth “ripples down” and will result in better wages eventually.

 

Here are two Colorado Republicans who are really angry at the GOP failure on healthcare

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Anil Mathai, the Chair of the Adams County Republican Party, has been voicing his frustration and anger over the failure of Republicans to kill Obamacare.

In a strident Facebook post this week, Mathai wrote:

Mathai: Our continued failure [to repeal Obamacare] will end the Republican Party via huge losses in 2017 and 2018. We were trusted and elected to lead our nation successfully.

Written before the GOP repeal effort went down in flames, Mathai’s post stated:

Mathai: May the Republican Party immediately repeal Obamacare and return our nation to complete freedom and away from the tyranny that the Democrat communist party has enacted over the last eight years!

Mathai doesn’t hold back when speaking his mind, both about his fellow Republicans and about issues he cares about.

Last year, he seethed at “cowardly traitors known as ‘Republicans,” and he wrote that taking down confederate flag is bowing to “leftist, racist political correctness.”

There may be no one more angry at the Republican failure to replace Obamacare than Kelly Couey, who appeared in an I-Am-Created-Equal video prior to the 2014 election criticizing Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet for his support of Obamacare.

Couey wrote on Facebook after the vote: “Did any of these assholes who voted against repeal read the Constitution? The Ten Commandments? Sorry John McCain, the cancer in your head is not as bad as the poison in your corporate bought out black heart.”

Couey’s son has autism, and he and his wife have struggled with healthcare costs.  In his ad, which attacks Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet’s support for Obamcare, Couey complains about the cost of insurance under Obamacare. But all GOP bills to replace Obamacare would have resulted in higher premiums than what’s projected under current law.

Trump Tweet Inspires Some Colorado Republicans to Attack Transgender People

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Blackburn anti-transgender FB postSome Colorado Republicans posted bigoted, mocking, and hateful messages on Facebook this week in response to Trump’s tweet saying he’ll ban transgender people from the U.S. military.

Some, like El Paso County GOP Vice Chair Joshua Hosler, thanked Trump for ending “social experiments” in the military, even though, as U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) has said, allowing transgender people to serve has nothing to do with any social experiment.

“America needs a military comprised of patriots willing to sacrifice for this country,” Buck told The Denver Post. “Any American who is physically and emotionally qualified should be allowed to serve.”

Reached today by phone, Hosler told me his Facebook post speaks for itself.

On Facebook, former State Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt wrote, “Thank God for sanity,” adding that Trump is the “most sane person in Washington.”

Tanne Blackburn, Chair of the Douglas County Republican Party, shared a Facebook meme with the statement, “Tansgendered people want to be accepted for who they are, yet they weren’t able to accept themselves for who they were?”

joseph neville likes meme attackingJoseph Neville, the son of State Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton), liked a Facebook meme depicting a photo of Michelle Obama with, “Trump Just Banned Me From Joining the Military.” The meme was spotlighted on Twitter by Charles Buchanan.

Joseph Neville, who’s a lobbyist and has worked for Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, an anti-gun safety organization, could not be reached for comment.

Surprise! Gardner Says He’s Undecided on “Skinny Repeal”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Asked by KHOW radio-host Ross Kaminsky today if there were “something that might come up” in the U.S. Senate” that would make him vote against healthcare reform, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) delivered a strange answer: the “single-payer plan.”

Kaminsky: So would you personally vote for almost anything just to get the process to go forward and get to a conference committee and try to get something going? Or is there something that might come up in the senate that you wouldn’t vote for on healthcare reform?

Gardner: Well, today, for instance, there is going to be a proposal that the Democrats have put forward in the House of Representatives and, I think has significant support in the Senate as well, from some Democrats. I believe it has 112 cosponsors even in the House of Representatives. It’s the single-payer plan. It’s the universal coverage, the socialized-medicine plan, that has been put forward in the House with 112 Democratic cosponsors. There is going to be a vote on that today.

Kaminsky: Wow.

Gardner: And Bernie Sanders and many others support it.

Gardner’s answer seemed to shock even the conservative Kaminsky, who responded with:

Kaminsky: I didn’t mean that kind of thing, Cory. I meant a Republican idea. Would you vote for any Republican idea simply to move the ball down the field?

This prompted Gardner to launch into the usual vagaries that have been frustrating reporters and constituents alike in recent months.

Gardner: No. Look, I think what I am going to vote for is what I believe can best represent what think is a Colorado concern and value, and that is this: We need to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. So what I vote for is going to be what I judge to be something…

Before spotlighting a single-payer bill as something he’d vote against, Gardner declined to tell Kaminsky if he planned to vote for the so-called “skinny” Obamacare repeal bill, which would, among other things, kill the mandate that individuals must buy health insurance. Congressional analysts estimate that the skinny repeal would cause 16 million people will lose insurance coverage, and premiums will go up by 20 percent.

Gardner: “What I have got to see is, what [the skinny repeal] is going to contain, what it means, and how it is best positioning us for the repeal and replace of the Affordable Care Act,” Gardner told Kaminsky on air.

At the beginning of the interview, Gardner told Kaminsky once again that he wants to replace Obamacare with “something that will work to increase the quality of care, decrease the cost of care.”

But none of the Republican proposals so far would do this, including the two proposals Gardner voted for yesterday.

Listen here to Gardner on KHOW 630-AM’s Ross Kaminsky Show July 27:

Why won’t Gardner have a serious conversation about what he’s doing in Washington?

If you’re a reporter, what to do with U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO)?

Assuming he gives you an interview (it took 9News weeks to get one), you’re facing a politician who’s apparently committed to not discussing any of the details of the GOP’s landmark Obamacare replacement bill. He won’t say what he likes, what he doesn’t like, or how he’d vote. Even if he’s voted on the exact same Obama-care repeal bill previously.

Today, 9News political reporter Brandon Rittiman boiled it down to a simple, “Are there any deal breakers? Are there things you do not want to see in any legislation?”

And Gardner dodged.

Rittaman followed up with a specific example of what could be a deal breaker: “What about the people on expanded Medicaid in Colorado, because a lot of new people got coverage that way. Is it important that they can keep the coverage they got under Obamacare?”

And Gardner dodged.

Rittiman asked Gardner if he’ll hold “any sort of town-hall meeting” during the August recess.

And Gardner dodged.

So what do you do with Gardner?

How about something like, “Hey, let’s stop playing this game, Sen. Gardner. It’s clear you won’t talk about specific elements that you favor or oppose in the healthcare bill. Why?

“Why do you have nothing to say about the substance of the bill or any parts of it? Do you think serious questions will hurt your negotiating position? Anger your constituents or Republican donors?

“Why won’t you have a serious conversation about what you’re doing in Washington?”