Rising Rate of Uninsured Kids is Political Disaster for Gardner

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) tries to make himself smaller while attending a 2017 press conference in support of gutting the ACA.

As NBC News explains, the number of uninsured children in the United States is rising for the first time in a decade:

After years of steady decline, the number of U.S. children without health insurance rose by 276,000 in 2017, according to a Georgetown University report released Thursday.

While not a big jump statistically — the share of uninsured kids rose to 5 percent in 2017 from 4.7 percent a year earlier — it is still striking. The uninsured rate typically remains stable or drops during times of economic growth. In September, the U.S. unemployment rate hit its lowest level since 1969…

…Study author Joan Alker and other child health advocates place the blame for this change on the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress, saying their policies and actions cast a pall on enrollment.

As Jessica Seaman writes for the Denver Post, health insurance coverage for kids in Colorado is looking equally grim:

The number of children in Colorado with health insurance has increased for almost a decade, but now the decline in the state’s youth uninsured rate is stagnating — and advocates fear more children could lose coverage due to a rule change proposed by the Trump administration.

The number of uninsured children in Colorado remained unchanged in 2017, with about 57,000 individuals under 19 without coverage, according to a new report by Georgetown University Health Policy Institute’s Center for Children and Families.

That stagnation comes after Colorado saw the percentage of children without health insurance drop from 14 percent in 2008 to 4.3 percent in 2016, according to Colorado Children’s Campaign, a nonprofit group advocating for children’s health and education…

…Political events on the national stage attributed to a notion that public coverage was at risk, leading to the jump in uninsured children.

It’s difficult for Republicans to argue that an increase in uninsured children is not their fault, particularly given the fact that the U.S. unemployment rate is lower than it has been in decades. Congressional Republicans spent much of 2017 trying, and trying, and trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While they never managed to wrangle enough votes to support a full repeal, Senate Republicans and President Trump still figured out a way to bleed the ACA by removing the “individual mandate” section of the law and allowing cut-rate and generally worthless insurance programs to be sold. Senate Republicans also let funding lapse for the Children’s Health Insurance Project (CHIP) for several months; the GOP tried to hold the program hostage as a bargaining tool over immigration and federal budget issues but ultimately folded what was an obviously-weak hand.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) has supported every recent GOP effort to cripple the ACA, though he’s also very well of the political danger this creates for his own re-election in 2020; in October, Gardner joined other Senate Republicans in pushing for a toothless resolution intended to make it look like they were truly concerned about coverage for pre-existing medical conditions.

When pressed on healthcare policy issues, Gardner just vomits out nonsense talking points hoping that reporters give up on getting a real response. When he thinks he can get away with it, Gardner works hard to both support AND oppose legislation to gut healthcare access for Americans. But when it comes to declining health insurance rates for children specifically, Gardner is completely stuck; the numbers are clear and there is no plausible story he can tell whereby he can cast himself as anything other than completely implicit in keeping sick kids from seeing a doctor. In fact, things would be even worse in this regard had any of Gardner’s preferred policy measures been implemented.

The number of uninsured children in the U.S. and Colorado will almost certainly increase in the next two years. You can expect to see plenty of television ads pointing this out in advance of the 2020 election.

Gardner was already looking at a very difficult re-election in Colorado after Democrats demolished Republicans in 2018. Add this issue to the mix, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to see how Gardner can possibly end up with another term in the U.S. Senate.


38 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. unnamed says:

    Gardner and people losing their healthcare.  Two things our little Moddy Meltdown just loves.  If this doesn't get him to emerge from his fetal position I don't know what will.

  2. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    The last sentence of the article reminds me that Pols predicted Mike Coffman would lose every time he was up for re-election. Took four tries, and perhaps Coffman was "bagged" this year due only to the anti-Trump blue wave.

    • unnamed says:

      Very possible.  In fact, I think he would have likely been reelected if the current President's name was Hillary Clinton.  That said, I think Gardner will be facing the same problem in 2020 that Coffman faced this year, unless Trump goes down soon, and quickly. 

      • DENependent says:

        I would expect the 2020 race to be something like this year's senate race in Nevada. The incumbency advantage will almost, but not quite, cancel out a very blue environment. Gardner is a slight underdog in my view.

        He could pull it out if the Democrats nominate someone who just not very good at the sounding good and firing up voters game. Or with skeletons that come tumbling into view once reporters get the storage closet doors open. Major ones, not a few expired mice.

        • unnamed says:

          Agreed.  I watched that one intently, as I saw the outcome as a likely harbinger for CO 2020.   With Gardner being slightly more disfavored than Heller was since CO is even more anti-Trump than NV.

          • Conserv. Head Banger says:

            Much will depend on who the Dems nominate to take on Gardner. If their nominee is a "far left, progressive," then Gardner's chances of re-election will be higher. 

            • unnamed says:

              Yup.  For Colorado, a Center-Left Dem with a killer instinct would be best. 

            • RepealAndReplace says:

              Yes, but don't try telling that Sappy, MJ, or Dust Puppy. They think that anything short of a raging Bolshevik ranting about the class struggle is doomed to lose.

              • VoyageurVoyageur says:

                We need a link to Lenin's famous essay, "Left -wing communism, an infantile disorder."

              • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

                Wrong, R&R. You really shouldn't be taking those mind-reading and precognition lessons from V.  Since those don't work , try actually reading my posts occasionally. Perhaps you can find where I mentioned Bolshevism, or the "class struggle".


                Or, alternatively, you could try promoting your own ideas about who should challenge Gardner, rather than resorting to insulting your fellow Polsters. More risky, I know….

                You want Hick? Perlmutter? Out with it. Let your flag fly.


                • RepealAndReplace says:

                  As for the Bolshevism, allow me to introduce you to the concept of hyperbole.

                  Hyperbole, meet Mamajama…..

                  As for my preferred candidate for the US Senate, you nailed it:  Hickenlooper. I will confess that I don't like his position on fracking but otherwise, he's fine. He did a fine job as governor and as mayor.

                  And if the GOP ever starts to elect any sane center-right folks to the US House or Senate – I know, extremely unlikely – Hick would be the type who could talk to the other side.

                  As for sane center-right folk, let's face it, Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski are about all there are in the Senate. A grand total of two. And there are fewer still in the House.

                  • Conserv. Head Banger says:

                    I don't know MJ. You don't hesitate to insult me because I'm not "compassionate enough" for your tastes. In the Senate, R & R, I've been intrigued by Ben Sasse (R-NE). He hasn't been afraid to take Trump on occasionally. There is still Susan Collins, altho she did vote for Kegger Kavanaugh. And did you see where Tim Scott (R-SC) just joined Jeff Flake in taking out a really racist Trump judicial nominee? They joined all 49 Ds and Is in doing the job on Mr. Farr.

                    In the House, start with Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY). There are others in the House, but the hour is getting late.

                    • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

                      CHB, you applied the term "compassion fatigue" to yourself, when explaining why you were against the (proposed) Right to Rest law, which merely protects homeless folks from being charged and jailed merely for being homeless, and from having their property confiscated and destroyed without any due process.

                      I had the temerity to suggest that I am as much of an "expert" on the causes and remedies for homelessness as you are, having also had many real world experiences with homeless folks, including currently.  There are homeless kids in my classes. They didn't choose it. Home is not a refuge for them. If you consider any contradiction of your "expert" opinions as an insult, there isn't much I can say to change that.

                      R&R, apparently you chose to pick a fight. You were bored , and missing our trolls, wanting some verbal conflict and an outlet for aggression,  and chose to formulate something completely out of left field to characterize me and others as raving lunatics who choose wacky candidates unlike you sensible moderates. Hey, I'm just using hyperbole – don't get offended or anything.

                      V, that post was so long ago that I'd completely forgotten about it. You probably have it circled in red and pinned above your computer for future vindication. Bring up a link if it's that important to you. My recollection is that you were defending a producer of kiddie porn, who was also an elected official. I wasn't suggesting that the guy be locked up without a trial – but yes, the recidivism and reoffense rates for child porn producers are pretty high – anywhere from 7- 35 % depending on the study.  (and with the caveat that all sex offenses are under-reported and under -prosecuted). I may have written that I could “guarantee” he had offended before and would again – but hey, the guy had a kiddie porn studio set up in his home and a distribution network – it’s a safe bet, and besides, your buddy R&R says that hyperbole is just good clean fun.
                      Seriously, It's why we have sex offender registries – to protect the community. Protecting kids and future victims would always be my goal.

                      If you want to argue that those reasonable cautions are somehow fascist and unconstitutional, be my guest. If you really want to understand your "enemies", please attend a sexual abuse survivor group – they're all over the metro area – and explain why we should give accused perpetrators the benefit of the doubt, and allow them opportunities to re-offend – I'm sure you'll get an "interesting" reception.




                    • VoyageurVoyageur says:

                      Hogwash, mj.  How convenient that you forgot your ridiculous bombast, though you seem to have recalled a highly edited version of it.  

                      Yes, you insisted on a prison sentence based on FUTURE offenses that you "guaranteed" this first time offender would someday commit.  Even though it appears that the young child was not aware he had been photoraphed, and forcing s trial to get your beloved prison sentence would force the court to have the whole thing thrashed out.  (That constitution thingy again.  It guarantees the accused the right to face an accuser.)

                      Contrary to your implication on your post, the offender was placed on the sex offender registry. And the “benefit of the doubt” that you fulminate against is required by that constitution thingee that you hate so much. Prosecutors have to prove a case beyond a reasonable doubt. You swinging from a chandelier and quoting a study showing a 7 percent chance of reoffending — ! — doesn’t constitute proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

                      Yes, you did indeed insist on punishment now for a future offense that you "guaranteed" he would commit. That was, frankly, a very stupid thing to say.  If the accused did indeed not offendagain, how would your "guarantee" have worked? Would you have molested kids yourself to activate your "guarantee.". I doubt it, but your claim of godlike powers to predict the future, based on something you read in Psychology Today, was far from your finest hour.

                • VoyageurVoyageur says:

                  Actually, MJ, you are the one who claims god-like powers.  Remember when you were howling for the head of a sex offender based on the FUTURE crimes you "guaranteed" he would commit, because you had read some article somewhere?

                  You even swore you would not presume innocence if you were ever on a jury in such a case, never mind that that constitution thingy calls for such a presumption.

                  Apparently, fortelling the future is easy for you, reading the Constitution, not so much.


            • DENependent says:

              I disagree that Gardner’s chances of reelection will be influenced by the positions of his opponent. I think the Democrats could nominate anyone with a competent ability to campaign and he or she would defeat Gardner by 1-2%.

              Other than being anti-Trump no other issue matters. Not Medicare for all, not carbon taxes, not charter schools, not even amnesty for illegal immigration. For the next two years only the bases of the two parties and Trump matter in swing state elections.

              In a red state, yes, positions would matter. Moderate Democrats who can make some local issue more important than party and ignores the hot button social stuff can win in places that are R+15% as shown by SC-01 this cycle. Colorado? Or bluer places? Not so much. Both progressives and moderates were elected in swing districts this cycle.

      • DavieDavie says:

        I doubt Republicans would remove Trump regardless of how corrupt, immoral or unethical the deeds Mueller is likely to reveal in the coming weeks or months.

        Con Man Cory is just going to have to bury his pusser into Trump's backside for the next two years and hope for a miracle, or a comfy lobbyist job in 2021.


  3. davebarnesdavebarnes says:

    "Rising Rate of Uninsured Kids is Political Disaster for Gardner"

    If the kids don't have the money for medical insurance then they need to get a job. Coal mines are hiring according to The Dumpster®.

    • MADCO says:



      This is it.
      Or they could work at their school – mopping, sweeping, cleaning bathrooms.


      • DavieDavie says:

        Newt came up with that one a few years ago

        Newt Gingrich Thinks School Children Should Work as Janitors

        NOV 21, 2011The GOP presidential candidate wants nine-year-olds to work as janitors. It's not merely a crazy plan (although it's plenty crazy). It's also evidence of a deep disrespect for and ignorance of American work. 

  4. JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

    Seems like there would be a downside to Buck, Lamborn and Tipton, too.

    Now, perhaps a thoughtful Democrat will propose a bill to cover EVERY child up to age 18 — the rationale being the coverage will be a good thing, it wouldn't cost much, and probably could be made revenue neutral by a small tax on private health insurance plans for adults.

    Even without kids of my own, this would be a way to do something good for kids, help build a transition to single-payer, simplify lives of HR departments, and probably would even sound good to the compassionate conservatives — however many there may be.

    • MADCO says:

      I know you meant "small fee" but it matters, so let's get it right

      But hey – we already have Medicaid, which will cover many uninsured kids.

      The rest should be insured through a tax  fee on their parents.

  5. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    Way to promote family values – more sick kids = a parent has to stay at home to care for them??? Nope, can't lose the second paycheck.

    Ah, what the heck. Just send them all to school. The more germs, the merrier.  MAGAaaaaaaaaackkkkkk……..

  6. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    Anyone that thinks our junior Senator gives a rats behind about kids health care or nutrition is smoking something pretty strong.  Remember those 60+ votes on Repeal and Replace!! (all while knowing there was NO plan) he crowed about to the the crowds in the lion's den in CD-4?  

    He has a long history on this issue.  But I repeat myself…

    This week Congressman Gardner will have the opportunity to stand with the 109,326 children in his district that live in child poverty and the 188,850 who depend on reduced lunch pricing.  That's enough children living in poverty to populate 31 cities the size of his hometown of Yuma, Colorado.  As the Congressman bows his head in thanksgiving this Fathers Day with his children beside him, I hope he will pause for a brief moment and reflect on the many tables across his district where food insecurity is a daily challenge.  And then as he begins his debate in the House chambers this coming week that his leadership will be with one eye on the least amongst us.  The vast majority of our working poor across the plains would rather have a job with a living wage and local opportunities that let them be a participant in the local marketplace of labor and ideas.  But we aren't there yet.  And until then they deserve your support and vote.

    As a fellow-agrarian, the Congressman knows that the best way to produce a bumper crop is to tend to 'the seedlings'.  A nurtured, well-fed seedling sets the stage to fill a granary; a stressed seedling never achieves its potential – regardless of the amount of resources you may shower upon it at a later stage. 

    Our children are no different.  Let's tend to these seedlings in the manner of a prudent, eastern plains farmer.


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