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July 10, 2019 10:51 AM UTC

Gardner's Silence Roars During Latest Obamacare Threat

  • by: Colorado Pols

Westword’s Chase Woodruff reports:

As yet another Republican legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act makes its way through the courts, Colorado Democrats are sounding the alarm over its potentially devastating impact on the state’s health care system — and blasting Senator Cory Gardner for his continued silence on the lawsuit.

“This would do irrevocable harm to consumers,” said Adam Fox, director of strategic engagement for the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, on Tuesday, July 9. “It would leave millions without insurance options, it would throw our health care system into chaos, and it would threaten our state’s fiscal stability.”

Fox and other health policy experts spoke to reporters as the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans heard oral arguments in Texas v. Azar, the latest in a long line of Republican attempts to overturn the ACA, also known as Obamacare, through Congress and the courts…

This latest of so many lawsuits against the Affordable Care Act comes in response to legislation passed by the Republican Congress in 2017 zeroing out the tax penalty that enforces the law’s mandate that every American obtain health coverage. Although Republicans failed over repeated attempts to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act, they did manage to strike this individual blow against the law–and in doing so, paved the way for the controversial argument subsequently mounted by Republican attorneys general that the ACA can’t function at all without the mandate.

“This case is really dangerous,” said Fox. “It essentially argues that the entirety of the ACA should be ruled unconstitutional because Congress repealed one small component of an expansive and transformative law.”

One of the bigger problems with this case is it seeks to define the “intent of Congress” based on their vote to zero out the mandate as an intent to repeal the Affordable Care Act as a whole, which doesn’t make sense. If the political will had existed to repeal the law entirely, Congress could have done that. In the New York Times story recapping yesterday’s hearing, there seems to be a cynical acknowledgement of this on the part of one of the GOP-appointed judges:

Judge Engelhardt asked Mr. Letter, the House lawyer, why Congress could not remedy the situation by writing a new health law or set of laws.

“They could do this tomorrow,” Judge Engelhardt said, leading Mr. Letter to dryly point out that Mr. Trump would need to sign off on new laws, too. [Pols emphasis]

“And obviously the president would sign this, right?” he asked sardonically. “No, obviously not.”

“You can fix this, and the Supreme Court has told you how to do it,” Mr. Letter told the panel, referring to legal precedent that directs courts to limit damage to major statutes when considering which provisions to throw out. “Maintain everything you can that can stand on its own.”

For Sen. Cory Gardner, this legal battle entails more than the usual risk–especially if the case comes before the U.S. Supreme Court before the 2020 elections. After all, the promise to not just get rid of the Affordable Care Act, which millions of Americans depend on for their coverage, but to replace the ACA with a system that would insure Americans and continue to protect patients with pre-existing conditions is a promise that Gardner has personally broken. In 2015, Gardner promised that in the event of a successful court challenge to the law that Republicans in Congress would have a replacement ready to go, a promise we now know was totally without merit.

It’s not an exaggeration to suggest that Gardner’s year-long campaign against the Affordable Care Act, falsely claiming the law had resulted in hundreds of thousands of Coloradans losing coverage and telling a story of personal higher health costs under the ACA that reality-based numbers were never able to support, has left him one of the most vulnerable Republicans in the nation on the issue. In the event of chaos resulting from a successful GOP court challenge that makes no provision for his own stated goals like protecting people with pre-existing conditions, Gardner would be left holding the bag politically at the worst possible moment in his career.

As of this writing, the odds are pretty good that this will be the outcome.


18 thoughts on “Gardner’s Silence Roars During Latest Obamacare Threat

    1. Pseudonymous says:

      March 27, 2019 at 12:49 PM MDT

      Since we don't talk about them as much, here are some of the things that Cory Gardner is working hard to eliminate from your coverage.  These are all products of the ACA that aren't about just getting insurance.

      • Prohibiting insurance companies from rescinding coverage.  They used to go back and find your undeclared severe acne and rescind your coverage while you were in cancer treatment.
      • Eliminating lifetime limits on insurance coverage.  Anyone worried about that $1 million lifetime limit after a major health crisis?
      • Eliminating annual limits on insurance coverage.  Ever bought a "cheap plan" for emergencies only to find out it will only pay out 10 grand a year in benefits?
      • Annual out of pocket maximums.  Had open heart surgery?  Even though it's still an insane level of cost, it helps to know you won't pay more than, say, $7,500, for the whole thing.  Plus, free prescriptions for the rest of the year!
      • Providing free preventive care.
      • Extending coverage for young adults to age 26.
      • Allowing states to cover more people on medicaid.  Know anyone poor but not "poor enough?"
      • Seniors who reach the coverage gap ("donut hole") will receive a 50 percent discount when buying Medicare Part D covered brand-name prescription drugs. Over the next 10 years, seniors will receive additional savings on brand-name and generic drugs until the coverage gap is closed in 2020.  Sorry, Meemaw.
      • Prohibiting discrimination due to pre-existing conditions or gender.  You can just not get sick or be a woman of child bearing age, I suppose.
      • Ensuring coverage for individuals participating in clinical trials.  Sorry you didn't get access to that promising new wonder-drug, Bryan.
    2. Removing all doubt that Poddy Mouth is Moderanus in drag — this is a line he has used before in his former incarnation:

      Let's just revert to status quo 2009 and start over, which was not that bad.

      Just ask all the dead people that didn't have coverage in 2009 — You won't hear them complaining at all!


      1. The little feller’s sure gotten a lot more testy since his last election debacle . . . 

        . . . maybe Fluffy’s Kleenex box stopped putting out???

    3. Ummmm…..everybody, PoddyMouth?  Don't you mean just the old white men who hated that black man squatting in their White House? 


      1. This was a hugely successful play from the Republican playbook to attach a personality to an issue and then demonize the personality to discredit the issue.  Imagine how much more difficult it would be for Cory Gardner if he had to say "We're going to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" instead of "We're going to repeal Obamacare".  The media were dutiful handmaidens in perpetuating this ploy.

    4. Thank you for removing all doubt about being MoldyAnus Poddy Mouth.  Not that there was much doubt before.  BTW, who is "Everybody"?  Your "repeal-no-replace" plan is unpopular and a big reason you lost in 2018.

      BTW, did Dudley give you your money back from your "investment" in his sore loser crusade?

    5. "not that bad" — if you are employed by a government or large corporation.

      "not that bad" — if the person in the family with employment-based insurance doesn't want a divorce, die, or lose the job.

      "not that bad" — if you don't change jobs

      "not that bad" — if your family has insurance and you are a student under the age of 21 (unless your insurer has a different age limit– some were 18)

      "not that bad" — if you don't need to worry about prior conditions

      "not that bad" — if you already are in Medicare

      "not that bad" — if you don't require mental health treatment or addiction treatment, since those often have much lower coverage, higher co-pays, and less guarantee of an adequate number of providers within the plan.

      …. and so on.


  1. If it does get repealed by the right wing Supreme Court (thanks Mitch), expect a blood bath for Republicans in 2020.  They can't run or hide from the fact that they killed it with no viable replacement.  Gardner is a goner if it is repealed.  No wonder he isn't bragging about helping kill it.

      1. Arguments at the Circuit Court done.  ruling likely within a couple of months.  It doesn’t seem likely that there would be a rehearing in front of the entire Circuit, as everyone knows a final decision is going to come from the Supreme Court. And an appeal to the Supreme Court appears basically inevitable (no matter which way the decision goes).  4 Justices needed to accept the case — and the coalitions on either side of the Chief Justice seem likely to be 4 in favor of review no matter which way the decision goes. 

        the fall calendar is filling up, with 41 cases accepted (and it looks like October and November slots are pretty full).  The Supremes probably won't get to it until 2020, after the fall ACA insurance enrollment period.  They can hear the case and make a ruling by June — creating the mother of all campaign issues no matter which way they rule.

        The only good news, from my selfish perspective:   Some of us turn 65 in 2020, and thus will be eligible for other public insurance before the ACA decision takes effect.

        1. Thanks for the summation John but like the census question it might be that by the summer of 2020 Trump with simply do away with the ACA altogether with an imperial decree and funnel the money into his wall project.  The border is still a national emergency right?

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