Democrats Remind GOP Primary Voters: “Thanks, Amycare!”

Rep. Amy Stephens (R).

Rep. Amy Stephens (R).

As the Denver Post's Kurtis Lee reports:

In opening day speeches from leadership Wednesday, both Democratic House Speaker Mark Ferrandino and Senate President Morgan Carroll offered compliments to their Republican colleagues who are running for higher office this year.

“Amy Stephens, an advocate on healthcare issues who had the political courage to work across the aisle to create Colorado’s healthcare exchange,” Ferrandino said of his colleague, Rep. Amy Stephens, a Republican from Monument…

FOX 31's Eli Stokols with the obvious logic behind this praise for U.S. Senate candidate Amy Stephens:

Highlighting Stephens’s work on the exchange, a key piece of Obamacare, may seem nice on the surface; but Democrats are well aware that Stephens’s sponsorship of the bill creating the exchange is preventing her U.S. Senate campaign from gaining traction with Republican primary voters, many of whom won’t forgive even the slightest endorsement of the new health care law.​

A PPP poll last November found Rep. Stephens polling at 7%, deep in the pack of GOP primary contenders to take on incumbent Mark Udall this fall. In the absence of any better explanation, it does appear that Stephens' support for 2011's health insurance exchange legislation in Colorado, Senate Bill 200, is a major factor holding her back. If Stephens does start to build momentum, her opponents have a lot of space in this primary to bash her. At this point, we don't see how she can survive the primary if she gets singled out in the perception of Republican voters as the Republican who "sold Colorado out to Obamacare."

It's just a question of when, or if, her opponents decide that is necessary.

18 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Moderatus says:

    Unsurprising that you neglected to quote Rep. Stephens' own response to these questions. Amy does a great job explaining the difference between the Obamacare disaster and the Colorado exchange. That's why NFIB supported the exchange legislation in 2011 while at the same time suing to stop Obamacare. They're not the same thing. Colorado Pols and Amy's other detractors do all of us a disservice by trying to dumb this issue down.

    • BlueCat says:

      How about a link to her explanation?  Or should we just take your word for it that whatever she said was accurate, honest and that she did a "great job"? Also explain your judgement that ACA itself, not the website is a disaster. With specific,please.

      Then please tell us why you think we were better off without reforms that ended denial for coverage for preexisting conditions, including infants being denied for birth defects and congenital issues. How were we better off when we could be dropped when we got seriously ill and before young people up to 26 could be covered on their parent's plans? How were we better off when a diabetic losing a job and the insurance that came with it could find it impossible to get new insurance?  How are we better off than we were when you could give a kidney to a family member and then become uninsurable? 

      I won't be holding my breath. 

      • JeffcoBlue says:

        Hah! You made it really hard for his answer to be "gubmint takeover."

      • BlueCat says:

        Make that how are we not better off than when you could give a kidney and become uninsurable. By the way, I remembered that example from back when Winter was running for CD6 and he told of having that happen to him. Gave a kidney to his sister, I believe it was, and thereafter was uninsurable.

        • Moderatus says:

          Who would argue that that is right? The other half of repeal and replace is replace. Just because there are problems with health care in America, and there are, does not mean Obamacare is the answer. The exchange is a free market solution.

      • JBJK16 says:

        We were better off when we really could keep our plan if we liked it. We were better off with no mandate and no IPAB.  We would be better off with competition across state lines and states free to choose to do what they wanted.

        Stephens is never going to be the nominee because she did not listen to her constituents, which I think we are seeing matters more than you think.

        • Republican 36 says:

          ". . . she did not listen to her constitutents . . ." You're kidding, right? In 2012, Rep. Stephens was subjected to a nasty primary by another incumbent Republican House member whose primary attack against Amy was the fact she sponsored the Colorado healthcare exchange bill and Amy won the primary, in a very conservative Republcian district, with almost 60% of the vote. She went on to win the general election too. So how can you say she didn't listen to her constituents? They apparently weren't offended in least by her support of the Colorado healthcare exchange legislation. Perhaps its the radical extremists who control the grassroots of the Colorado Republican Party who are out-of-touch. 

          • JBJK16 says:

            Yes, she won her district.  I think she would have a hard time winning her district again soon. Many voters in her district do not like the exchange she supported.  I don't believe she can win statewide.

            Out of touch extremists have taken over, but the way forward is not just to quit and give in to all things liberal.

        • BlueCat says:

          Actually you weren't better off with a plan, no matter how much you thought you liked it, that wouldn't come anywhere near covering anything. If you're stupid enough to "like"one of these super cheap plans that pays a few bucks out and leaves the lion's share to you, you aren't better off and neither are the rest of us who'll have to cover the costs you can't possibly pay.

          Almost all the plans that were truly lost, as opposed to the majority that were replaced with genuine insurance, weren't insurance plans at all but plans that promised certain specific and completely inadequate amounts for various things, nowhere near what those things actually cost. So maybe you'd get a few hundred toward a 50K bill. Some loss.

      • JBJK16 says:

        We were better off when we really could keep our plan if we liked it. We were better off with no mandate and no IPAB.  We would be better off with competition across state lines and states free to choose to do what they wanted.

        Stephens is never going to be the nominee because she did not listen to her constituents, which I think we are seeing matters more than you think.

        • BlueCat says:

          You're only free to choose what you can afford and the private insurers don't offer much that's any good and that middle income self employed people can afford. Even those who thought they had good insurance found that the insurers were free to deny you and cut you off  at will, leaving them subject to losing everything if they got seriously ill or had an ill child. It's a barbaric system and unique to us out of all the planet's modern industrialized countries in the 21st century. In the rest, anyone can access quality healthcare without going bankrupt. Here health crises are the primary cause of bankruptcy . They aren't a cause of bankruptcy at all in any other civilized 21st century country.   

          • JBJK16 says:

            I agree that healthcare in this country can be improved.  Obamacare and the Amycare exchange didn't do it.

            • BlueCat says:

              Not nearly enough but yes, many aspects of ACA are big improvements. There is simply no way it's better to go back to the pre-reform system, which is what would happen if the GOTP got their repeal wish.

              It's hard to imagine a system worse than one that causes health crises to be the number one cause of bankruptcy, including among the  insured, in a world in which going bankrupt because of serious illness isn't even a possibility in any other advanced well off nation. Especially since we also pay twice as much as the people of those other countries because people here who carry on about not wanting to pay for other people's health care are too blinded by irrational ideological resistance to realize that they already do. In fact they pay much more than the rational people of those other countries do while incurring risks people in those other countries never have to face. It would be laughable if it wasn't so tragically stupid.


              We have health care no where near the quality for the average person and nowhere near as accessible to the average person and we pay twice as much for that "privilege" basically because we're backward rubes still responding like Pavlov's dogs any time corporate overlords get their pet pols to yell  "socialism".


  2. Diogenesdemar says:

    I gotta' say, it's sure gotten a lot harder these days telling one big-government, Kenyan, Islamist socialist from another . . . ??!!??

  3. mamajama55 says:

    In 2011, when  Amy Stephens presented her ideas about a Colorado health care exchange to a friendly audience of Unitarians in Jefferson County, with Democrat Max Tyler, my thought was only, "Wow! A personable, smart Republican who actually cares about Coloradan's health, and is willing to work across the aisle to help us!"  I was and am impressed with Stephens' political skills. 

    Then political realities set in – as  the ACA was developed in the US Congress, and Rep (and Doctor) Irene Aguilar was pushing for a state-run single-payer program.  suddenly it became politically toxic for Stephens to be associated with Obamacare. So Stephens backed off, wanting Colorado's exchange to be somehow independent of the Federal exchange, which would have made no sense at all in terms of matching funds for Medicaid expansion.

    I now am eligible for an advance tax credit on my health insurance, making it affordable for me,and under Stephens plan, nothing much would have changed.

    So Modster, it isn't really that Pols is refusing to present Stephens' side of things, as that Stephens "side" is not what Coloradans wanted. We found her plan not to be in our self interest, and lost trust that she actually does care about our health after she flipped around so many times.  I agree that she is a very well-spoken, smart, and capable politician. I consider her to be a victim of Obama Derangement Syndrome.

  4. JBJK16 says:

    So when someone agrees with you, or you think they do, they are great.  When they do not, they are mentally deranged.  Ok.

    • mamajama55 says:

      Obama Derangement Syndrome:  (ODS) Amy Stephens had a decent approach to health care in Colorado, although I personally would prefer Irene Aguilar's single-payer approach. However, Amy Stephens got spooked by the passing of the Affordable Health Care Act, and , rather than tie her pretty good idea to "Obamacare", backed completely away from it.

      She could have been hailed as a truly bipartisan leader. She had the potential for that.  She's got the political skills, and is smarter than many of her Republican colleagues.  But she got primaried, and intimidated by the Tea Party wing of the Republican party, which really does have ODS. So if you prefer, JLB, we can just call it cowardice instead of ODS.

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