Gardner Rages At Sebelius Over “Brosurance”

UPDATE: A release from pro-health reform group Protect Your Care asks why Rep. Cory Gardner is beating this anti-Obamacare drum at all, given the good being done in his district by the Affordable Care Act right now:

“This just doesn’t make any sense,” said Trish Smith a Colorado native and retiree who has lived in Greeley for over thirty years. “This is a rural district with a lot of people who need access to health care. The Affordable Care Act helps residents of CD4 get the health care they need. Instead of trying to undermine it, he should be trying to help people understand it. And he should be urging other states to follow Colorado’s lead.”

In Congressman Gardner’s district, 81,000 seniors are now eligible for Medicare preventive services without paying any co-pays, coinsurance, or deductible. About  206,000 individuals in the district – including 53,000 children and 79,000 women – now have health insurance that covers preventive services without any co-pays, coinsurance, or deductible. Additionally, 100,000 individuals in CO-4 who lack health insurance will have access to quality, affordable coverage without fear of discrimination or higher rates because of a preexisting health condition.


As Rep. Cory Gardner promised, above is a clip we were just forwarded from his very hostile questioning today of federal Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius over ads from a Colorado-based health care nonprofit, pitching insurance coverage on the state's new exchange marketplace. Here's a transcript of the above audio:


GARDNER: I would like to show you an advertisement that's going on in Colorado right now. This is an advertisement that a board member of the Colorado exchange has put forward. Do you agree with this kind of ad for Obamacare?

SEBELIUS: I, I can't see it, and again, if…

GARDNER: It's a college student doing a keg stand.

SEBELIUS: If the Colorado exchange did that they are…

GARDNER: Do you approve of this kind of advertising?

SEBELIUS: A state based marketplace.

GARDNER: Do you approve of this kind of advertising?

SEBELIUS: I don't see it, I don't know what it is, and I did not approve it. This is a state based marketplace.

GARDNER: That's a pretty big font. That's a pretty big picture of a keg. And you can't see it?

SEBELIUS: Do I approve of it? I've never even seen it.

GARDNER: You have the ability to opt-out, by the way, as a federal employee, you could take the insurance, so I would just encourage you to make that decision.

SEBELIUS: If I have available employer-based coverage, I am ineligible for the…

GARDNER: I would also like to submit a waiver for my district from Obamacare and hope you will consider waiving Obamacare for the 4th Congressional District.


FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports:

Colorado Congressman Cory Gardner was among the most boisterous of those questioning Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Capitol Hill Wednesday morning over the problem-plagued Obamacare roll-out.

Gardner, R-Yuma, stuck to the script he laid out to FOX31 Denver on Monday, asking Sebelius if she approves of an edgy Colorado ad campaign urging young college-aged men and women to buy ‘Brosurance’ on the state’s new health insurance exchange…

Gardner also referred to the Brosurance campaign as something “that a board member of the Colorado exchange brought forward”, although the ad is actually the work of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and Progress Now, two progressive groups that are not associated with Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s exchange.

Gardner's fixation with the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative's "Got Insurance?" ads, in particular the "Brosurance" keg stand ad, makes very little sense to us. For one thing, he's doing more to promote the ads by showing them in this nationally-televised hearing than the groups that made them. Second, as Sebelius points out repeatedly, nobody in the federal government had even a bit of influence on this ad campaign. It doesn't help Gardner's credibility to repeatedly ask the question of whether Sebelius "approves" of something she very reasonably explains she and her department had nothing to do with. The fact is, the younger demographic targeted by these ads is exactly who Kathleen Sebelius needs to sign up for insurance coverage–so the help Rep. Gardner just gave publicizing the "Got Insurance" campaign today is probably much appreciated by its backers.

We had hoped that Sebelius would retort with a question about "Creepy Uncle Sam," which by the same standards Rep. Gardner should surely approve or disapprove of, but in the end it wasn't necessary. On balance, we'd say Gardner made a fool of himself without anybody's help.

28 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. horseshit GOP front group says:

    As much as I like to see Cory Gardner make an ass out of himself, this tantrum is just a waste of everyone's time, including the taxpayers.

  2. Davie says:

    As much as I like to see Cory Gardner make an ass out of himself, this tantrum is just a waste of everyone's time, including the taxpayers.
    – See more at:

    Republicans in general and Gardner in particular, are good at that.

  3. Moderatus says:

    Sorry libs, but these ads are an embarrassment to everyone who supports health care reform. Gardner is right to call every Democrat out. Aren't we Republicans the ones who are accused of lowering the discussion? Not this time.

    • horseshit GOP front group says:

      I will give Gardner a break for not really knowing what advertising is.  He hasn't spent any meaningful time in the business world.

    • Canines says:

      Gardner is giving the advertising campaign yet more free publicity. Congrats.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      So what's the Republican plan for insuring youth who are prone to engage in risky behavior?

      Oh that's right you have none.

      What an ass to be concerned about an ad and not the substance of the issue and I'm not talking about Gardner.

      • Moderatus says:

        So what's the Republican plan for insuring youth who are prone to engage in risky behavior?

        Personal responsibility. And insurance choices that already exist.

        • Hawkeye-X says:

          Personal responsibility. And insurance choices that already exist

          Gee. I wonder what they look like now…

        • Canines says:

          Personal responsibility based upon the limited amount of information that Republicans are willing to allow to be disseminated — e.g., see abortion, sex ed, harm reduction, for starters.

        • Gilpin Guy says:

          The insurance choices that 'previously' existed were unaffordable for young people.  The term 'Presonal Responsibility' gets thrown around but doesn't bring down the cost for emergency rooms vists by the uninsured.

          • BlueCat says:

            And most of the really cheap plans cover almost nothing. You're basically gambling nothing serious, much less catastrophic, is going to happen. If it does, the crappy plans that are being discontinued won't make a dent in what you'll owe. 

            Most self insured who are seeing these crappy plans discontinued can get better plans that will cost them less with subsidies. If you don't qualify for a subsidy you can afford a plan that won't leave you bankrupt if you get sick and you'd better get one instead of just gambling with other people's money in a society that doesn't turn you away from the ER when you run out of money to pay your own way, something almost nobody is rich enough to do in a real health crisis. This can't be stressed wnough. You're present crappy bargain basement plan won't be anywhere close to enough. That' why it's being phased out. Because it's a half step away from being a total scam.

        • DawnPatrol says:

          Just say no! Bootstraps! Trickle down!


    • Cogito says:

      It's a really dumb ad. But it's not a "Democrat" ad just as it isn't a Health and Human Services ad or even a Connect for Colorado ad. So Gardner has no more right to "call out" the Democrats on it than a Republican rep has to "call out" Republicans for the Koch Brothers "Uncle Sam playing Doctor" ad.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      Hey Extremis how come you didn't condemn the rightie ad about Uncle Sam with the speculum?  I suppose you didn't consider that one in poor taste but kids doing goofy stunts is beyond the pale.  If you weren't a screwed up hypocrite you would condemn them both but we all know your fingers are numb when it comes to condemning outrages by the right.

  4. MichaelBowman says:

    Sebilius as Governor stared down the Kansas legislature full of old white men, hell-bent on building a $3 billion coal plant in Holcomb, three times with her veto threat.  She never blinked.

    Thanks to her, that boondoggle is never going to happen and Cory's 4th CD has a shot at developing hundreds of millions of dollars in wind, solar and natural gas projects.  He should have been kissing her. 

    She eats guys like Cory for breakfast.

    • BlueCat says:

      Instead of  trying to cling to the claim that everybody who likes their insurance gets to keep it, Sebilius, Obama, and Co. should have admitted that's not quite the case, that obviously if your insurance doesn't meet the minimum standards set by the law for an acceptable level of coverage under acceptable rules and regs that protect you no matter what happens, you'd have to switch to one that does. That maybe you're sadly mistaken if you think the super cheap insurance you have is going to be any good if you ever suffer more than a sniffle. In fact they should have explained that instead of making their highly problematic claim long ago in the first place.

      You'll never guess  what cable channel they could have turned for help in explaining this instead of trying to deny it. Hint…. not MSNBC.  Righties, read no farther. You aren't going to like this: 

      Well you will never believe who poked giant holes through this 'report': Fox News' Greta Van Sustern.

      Greta teed up the interview using the same setup as Crawford’s piece, that Barrette is “finding out she will have to pay 10 times as much for health insurance” because “she is losing her current plan to Obamacare.”

      “I have a copy of your Florida Blue insurance and it’s about $54 a month,” Greta continued, “and now I understand that under Obamacare, it’s going to go up, at least they said that the policy they would offer you under Florida Blue, would be $591; is that correct?”

      Actually, the plan BCBSFL was only one of many plans Dianne has to choose from, 10 of which are cheaper than that $591, and based on her income, she’d only pay around $209 a month, but Greta did cut right to the chase about the quality of her old plan.

      “Your $54 a month policy is a pretty, you know, bare bones policy, “Greta said. “Why do you want to keep that one, except for the price? Maybe you can get something better with a subsidy?”

      Ms. Barrette goes on to say that this 'insurance' is perfect for what she needs: a doctor visit copay and prescription copay, and maybe some outpatient services. It turns out that she actually had that reversed and the insurance company paid a $50 'copay' towards a doctor visit, and $15 for prescriptions, and she herself was responsible for all the rest of the costs. The interviewee acknowledged no hospital stays were covered in response to Greta's question.

      Now this is exactly the type of junk insurance Obamacare is meant to do away with, and it is not surprising that people don't know what their insurance covers. But a reporter with a major news outlet should have done some reporting and learned that.  So it should be of great embarassment to CBS to be shown up that way by Fox filling in missing facts in their story.

      What is funny though is that a subsequent interview that was to take place on Fox News with Ms. Barrette, was cancelled, after Greta poked holes in the story.

      Following her chat with Van Susteren, Barrette got word from a network producer that her appointment to appear this morning on Fox News was cancelled, she tells the Erik Wemple Blog.

      • BlueCat says:

        Left out some background. The sad tale of this poor woman's insurance cost being ten times more than the policy she was going to lose under ACA was originally and uncritically reported on CBS.  So there you have it …. the supposedly liberal biased lame stream media reporting an anti-ACA scare story and being corrected on FOX. Is the sky still blue over planet earth?

  5. DawnPatrol says:

    What a tragically sad, stupid, petty little man this Gardner twerp is.

    The fool is to be pitied. And beaten at the polls.

  6. MadoneRider says:

    The man is a putz.  I'm so glad that I am no longer in his distrrict when Ft. Collins was moved to Rep. Polis's district.

  7. Curmudgeon says:

    Give the Righties a break. Shrill screeching is all they have left on this matter, and many others. There are bugs and glitches galore with Obamacare, but they'll get worked out. It's not going away. It's the law, and no amount of threats, coercion, blackmail, or intentional damage to the economy has stopped it. It's a good thing (one step closer to what the majority of the civilized world has) and it will remain. It's progress. And those who fought against it so desperately, so viciously, so untruthfully, will be looked on by future generations as sad, outdated, despicable people who thought nothing but themselves, and hanging on to their backwards notions. 

    • Duke Cox says:

      nothing but themselves, and hanging on to their backwards notions.

      That's our Cory…same as it ever was.

      • MichaelBowman says:

        …that display of faux-outrage was an embarassment. It's a great diversion tactic, though, to keep journalists from asking about his own claims about his family insurance plan.  I did wander over to his Facebook page and read his bravado about his accomplishments today.  Interestingly enough, it's not a chorus of sheep over there singing his praises. 

        I'm repeating myself, but Kathleen Sebilius eats guys like him for breakfast.

        • horseshit GOP front group says:

          Sebelius was quite feisty in testimony yesterday.  Who cares if she sounds frustrated – we all would be in a situation like that with clown inquiries like Corys.  The lady stuck to her damn guns.

  8. DavidThi808 says:

    Gardner focusing on this is stupid. I think the Obama Administration has been horribly incompetent on implementing the website. So does he focus on that?

    no, he focuses on an effective add for a competently implemented state exchange.

  9. Gray in Mountains says:

    I watched Gardner's rant last night. Sure got a lot of lenses in his grill. I'll bet he gets that as a still for campaign literature.

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