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March 14, 2014 11:05 AM UTC

Should Health Reform Cover Pre-Existing Conditions? Gardner: No

  • by: Colorado Pols

A major liability hanging over the candidacy of Rep. Cory Gardner for the U.S. Senate is video from a 2010 congressional primary debate from Gardner's run for CD-4, wherein Gardner proudly declares his support for the "Personhood" abortion ban–even going so far as to tell how he helped circulate the petition to get the measure on the ballot.

Here's another clip from the same 2010 debate that could well pose trouble for Gardner in his bid to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall. As you watch this, keep in mind the mood of the Republican primary electorate in 2010, with the "Tea Party" raging and "Obamacare" a fresh scare story:

ADAM SCHRAGER: Coverage of pre-existing conditions: have to be a part of any health care reform?

DIGGS BROWN: Absolutely.

SCHRAGER: Mr. Gardner?

CORY GARDNER: No. [Pols emphasis]

SCHRAGER: Mr. Lucero?

DEAN MADERE: Honestly, no, I don't think the federal government should be getting involved in the health care system.

SCHRAGER: Mr. Lucero?


In this remarkable fifteen seconds of video, not just Gardner, but every single candidate in the CD-4 primary except for former Fort Collins City Councilman Diggs Brown says that pre-existing conditions do not need to be covered as part of health care reform. The mandate that insurance companies cover patients with pre-existing conditions, who were in many cases uninsurable prior to the Affordable Care Act, is one of the most popular parts of President Barack Obama's signature health care reform law. In the 2012 presidential campaign, Republican Mitt Romney repeatedly assured voters that his "plan" for health care reform would also cover pre-existing conditions. The promise that this basic component of health care reform would not go away under a Republican administration has always been vital to the "replace" part of the GOP's "repeal and replace" mantra against the ACA.

But here's GOP Senate frontrunner Cory Gardner, who apparently isn't so concerned with the "replace" part of "repeal and replace"–at least not where it concerns pre-existing conditions! That may have been the right answer in Gardner's 2010 primary, but the statewide electorate in 2014 is likely to find that a harsh prescription.

When we say that Gardner is not the savior in the 2014 U.S. Senate race that Republicans apparently think he is today, moments like this are why–and this video clip is unlikely to be the last. The fact is, Gardner has never had to run in a competitive race outside a beet-red Republican district, either in the legislature or in Congress. And the things Gardner said to win then hurt him now.


41 thoughts on “Should Health Reform Cover Pre-Existing Conditions? Gardner: No

  1. I'm OK with insurers kicking sick people to the curb until they die so they can make more money.

    Boom.  That one IS gonna hurt.

      1. Like a stiletto to his shrunken little political heart. You don't come back from ignorant, asinine, self-inflicted wounds like this.

        Kinda makes me think Gardner heretofore had no statewide political aspirations, until very recently. Would he have been so willing to spout this bat-sh_t wingnut poison so openly if he had, knowing that it would wound him mortally down the road? Is even Cory THAT stupid and shortsighted?

        1. Think what you what to think.  In fact, keep thinking just that.  Please, please, please, run on Obamacare.  It will make for a very enjoyable election season.

            1. It is the truth that Obamacare isn't popular with a lot of voters, and is a perennial PR problem.  However, I wonder how many of those perceptions of Obamacare are based on distortions of the truth and outright lies told to them by people like Cory Gardner.


              What happens when voters discover the truth, or will that even happen ?  Do their perceptions change, do they stay the same, or do they continue to bury their heads in the sand like the birther crowd ? 

              It will be interesting to see, but I think Dems would do themselves a huge favor by more aggressively getting the facts out there, and more aggressively swatting down the bullshit.

              1. Horseshit, Assume that the perceptions of others are true as to Obamacare and assume that as time goes on more are exposed to Obamacare and have the same perception, what is the plan?

                Telling people not to believe their lying eyes is not a winning strategy.


              2. Agreed. And to PR's point supporting Dodd's original nitpick, ok…..actual 27 year old premium prices, before advance tax credits, are in the ballpark of $150 / mo for a bronze plan, with an income of $25K. $150/mo is a pretty pricey phone, but not unheard of with a data plan. It's $50 off of the Prez' ballpark figure, so fairly accurate for government work.

                Less income than that, say, a minimum wage job, and the advance tax credits kick in, putting the Obamacare customer down at the working poor level, after which their monthly premiums and co-pays  are less than $50/mo, or your average cell phone bill, and the Prez is right.

                So nitpick away- people will beleive their lying eyes, and bank statements, and be happy that they can afford good health insurance now.

      1. If you guys want to run with an extremist candidate, far to the right of anyone who has won a Senate seat in Colorado for multiple cycles, including good R years, on a platform of easily refuted lies, be our guest. The only poll that counts will decide who's blowin'  it out their ass, right?

        1. Your candidate says he wants a single payer system?  That may poll well with Progress Now, but not with the general public.  Before Obamacare the state had a system that covered people with pre-existing conditions which was paid by a surcharge on all healthcare policies sold in the state.  Obamacare did away with that.

            1. horseshit, Obacare did away with the state program.  I did not say pre-existing conditions were not covered under Obamacare.  The point is Obamacare largely changed how the coverage was provided, not whether the coverage existed.

          1. Some friends were on the Colorado high risk pool insurance plan. Their cost with a shiny new Obamacare plan is half of what it was, and their out of pocket expenses are lower, too. And they are older, so their ACA plans are among the most expensive available in their coverage region.

            YMMV, but as I write below, most former high risk pool subscribers will be looking at Rep. Gardner's statement in a very negative light.

  2. Not that I was ever voting for him, but that response would have lost me if I were an independent voter.

    Anyone who was in Colorado's high risk has also probably just written Gardner off of their Christmas card list, too, as prices for many people in the pool just dropped significantly thanks to Obamacare.

  3. TV commercial: "Cory Gardner doesn't want me to have health insurance because I have a pre-existing condition. I'm a mother of two, expecting my third child. I just don't think that's right."

    1. I have already seen the info for the commercial about the high risk patient covered under the state program who has to pay more under Udallcare.  Pretty compelling stuff.

      1. Yeah, if you guys ever come up with a real "victim" of Obamacare, you can compare it with the GOP's ASSHOLECare program, where first you go bankrupt, then you die.

    1. Well, so far every supposedly true horror story they put out has turned out to be bull and mean pople keep exposing them for the lies they are. I suppose they find that upsetting.

      1. Show me a Republican talking point that hasn't been a lie, a half-truth, or a story that's conveniently lacking information that changes the whole story…

  4. Covering pre-existing conditions was, in my opinion, the best feature of the ACA.  I'd venture to say that everyone knows someone in their close sphere of family and friends who has a pre-existing condition of some sort.  Gardner's position will allow Dems to highlight this feature of Obamacare that probably has eluded much of the populace.

    1. Absolutely. And those with pre-existing conditions of an even moderately serious nature couldn't afford to leave a job where they were already covered to go into business for themselves before ACA. If it does nothing else (and it does some other good things) ACA frees those people and people who just didn't think they could afford to give up their job related insurance to get out there and be innovative entrepreneurs. Job lock has been a major drag on entrepreneurship, one that makes us less competitive with other countries where no one has to give insurance a thought if they want to start a business.  Dems need to play that way up instead of running away, as usual , from the challenge of  addressing the GOTP spin machine.

  5. A  final word on this subject. Even if the right can find a few genuine stories of people losing great insurance and having to pay much more to get insurance just as good, and so far none has appeared here or in the Post or on Fox etc. that hasn't been debunked, there can be no denying two simple facts.

    One, many more people have suffered due to being unable to get affordable coverage due to preexisting conditions and will continue to do so if the Gardners have their way than could ever be seriously affected in a negative way by ACA.  The Gardners care only about their sterile ideology. Not real people. To them it's totally worth it that people should go uninsured and without good health care in the service of their ideology.

    Two, millions can be freed by ACA to create new businesses and new jobs as it eliminates job block. This can be an important component of  recharging our economy as a whole and creating living wage jobs for more workers. Republicans are supposed to like policies that create opportunities for individual initiative and jobs. Why don't the Gardners support the aspect of ACA that does just that? Because they won't support anything from this President or from Dems in general, good or bad,  whether or not their opposition helps or hurts real people. 

    As long as Dems are smart enough to stick to those two clear messages, debunking every phony scare story, they can win the message war both on the issue of security in knowing you'll be able to get coverage if you lose your job even if you're a diabetic or  cancer survivor and on the economics of encouraging entrepreneurship to flourish. 

    Dem candidates and ops, get out there and sell those excellent and conveniently true messages. Don't run and hide and let the righties do all the selling. The Dem message, unlike the GOTP message, is the truth and so can't be debunked. The GOTP message can easily be debunked as long as you don't let them cow you by using real sick people you're afraid of looking "mean" to by telling the truth. Those sick people are being used and need to hear the truth, too. Some of them may even accept it. Take advantage of the truth.

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