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May 06, 2018 02:06 PM UTC

Republican gubernatorial candidates part ways on whether to roll back Obamacare in Colorado

  • by: Jason Salzman

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Robinson told Colorado Public Radio this week that, as governor, he wouldn’t focus on rolling back Obamacare, putting him at odds with fellow primary candidate Walker Stapleton and Victor Mitchell.

Asked by Colorado Public Radio’s Ryan Warner whether he’d “roll back the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare,” Robinson said:

Robinson: “Really hard to roll things back, right? What we need to do is to change the incentives. So I would look at things as I said, like managed care. I would look at maybe increasing the co-pays or doing what Indiana did. They now charge a small premium to their Medicaid folks every month, it’s from $8 to $18 a month, and it makes a difference in how those people consume health care.”

Stapleton, the front runner in the GOP primary, would go further on Obamacare than Robinson, saying in a KOA 850-AM radio appearance last year and elsewhere he wants to get rid of the online marketplace where Obamacare-approved insurance plans are sold to the public.

In the KOA interview, Stapleton said that “we’re going to have to scrap the exchange” in Colorado, because it’s “not viable.”

Stapleton’s stance against the insurance market place, a core element of the Affordable Care Act, comes close saying he wants Obamacare repealed totally, though Stapleton has yet to say so explicitly.

But Stapleton has said Obamacare’s individual mandate, the federal requirement that Americans must have health insurance, is a “disaster.

Robinson is also against Obamacare’s health insurance mandate, which was intended to keep insurance rates down by ensuring that young and healthy people as well as old and sick ones are paying into the system.

It was eliminated under the new federal GOP tax law.

Stapleton, who is Colorado’s treasurer, presumably supports the Republican move to end the mandate, even though the provision is expected to throw 235,000 people off the Medicaid insurance rolls in Colorado by 2025, according to the Center for American Progress, a liberal research organization. 

Stapleton told me after a debate in February that he believes the federal government will turn Medicaid into a “block grant” for the states, and he gave no indication that he’d oppose such efforts to do this, like the Obamacare repeal bills that died in the U.S. Senate last year. He told KHOW radio host Ross Kaminsky the same thing in an Oct. 17 interview (at 56 min).

Stapleton explained to Kaminsky that he’d save Medicaid dollars by offering diverse types of health-insurance plans to different segments of the population, including “plans with higher deductibles, catastrophic plans.” He also wants to increase “community healthcare centers.”

Stapleton has said multiple times that Florida Gov. Rick Scott has done a “good job” managing Medicaid (at 56 min).

This raises questions because, according to the Orlando Sentinel, Scott’s “political career is largely defined by opposition to the Affordable Care Act.”

Scott even called on Congress to keep trying to kill the health care law after U. S. Senate Republicans failed three times in dramatic fashion to repeal it.

Republican GOP primary candidate Victor Mitchell, a former state lawmaker, is also hostile toward Obamacare.

Last year, he told the Colorado Independent’s Cory Hutchins in no uncertain terms that, as governor, he would “immediately” pull out of Colorado’s Obamacare exchange, and he believes this could be done without legislative approval.

Depending on how far Mitchell goes in extracting Colorado from Obamacare, the state could face the loss of hundreds of thousands of people from the Medicaid insurance rolls.

Former Parker mayor Greg Lopez would turn to health care officials for advice on what to do in Colorado, telling the Independent, “They’re the ones that have the solutions,” he said. “They’re the ones who have true optics as to what’s going on.”


9 thoughts on “Republican gubernatorial candidates part ways on whether to roll back Obamacare in Colorado

  1. Unless Stapleton changes his tune, I'm convinced a trained parrot could do an equally good job repeating tired GOP talking points.  One side benefit is the parrot would have a better attendance record of showing up for work.

      1. I rewatched that skit and yes, the parrot was at least as lively as Stapleton!

        Now if he suddenly broke out in song like the skit does with "Oh, I'm a lumberjack and I'm ok!"


  2. Of course he will keep Obamacare. Uncle Mittens designed the prototype for the ACA. And both were derived from Gingrich Care in 1994.

  3. What makes them think premiums for Medicaid would make a difference? Medical care doesn't work on a "the less expensive it is, the more is consumed' basis. People see a doctor when they are ill or injured. I don't know anyone who loves doctor visits. What they mean is, they want to go back to people being unable to get care when needed.

  4. Here's an amusing thought … A Republican wins as Governor, the Colorado House goes even further into Democratic hands, the Colorado Senate flips to Democratic control. And the Governor is faced with the choice of signing or vetoing a state budget that shores up the Exchange, firms up Medicaid and Medicare coverage, and increases support for the hospital provider fee program.

    What to do, what to do ….

  5. I am bewildered by Vic Mitchells' decision to diss California ( and its government by "career politicians") as a campaign message. "Worst living conditions" (with a citation to Fox News) …

    I dunno, Vic…I've been to Caifornia and it seemed like it was a pretty good place. From my point of view, one of the best things about California is YOU don't live there.

    Lucky them….

    1. While California's economy just surpassed the U.K. to take 5th place in the WORLD — $2.7 Trillion, the Republican nirvana, Sam Brownback's Kansas suffered negative job growth and a population decline in 2017.  In fact the California economic growth last year ($127 billion) was almost as much as the entire state of Kansas' economy ($148 billion).

      All economic sectors except agriculture contributed to California's higher GDP, said Irena Asmundson, chief economist at the California Department of Finance. Financial services and real estate led the pack at $26 billion in growth, followed by the information sector, which includes many technology companies, at $20 billion. Manufacturing was up $10 billion.

      Since [2012], the most populous U.S. state has added 2 million jobs and grown its GDP by $700 billion.

      California's growth and productivity has it pulling away from the rest of the U.S. without benefit of the billionaire tax scam or any other tax cuts, medicaid cutbacks or even removing regulations to control polution, worker safety or family health.

      The state has 12% of the U.S. population but contributed 16% of the country's job growth between 2012 and 2017. Its share of the national economy also grew to 14.2% from 12.8% over that five-year period, according to state economists.

      All of our Republican gubernatorial candidates are at a complete loss to explain this.

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