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November 02, 2016 11:50 AM UTC

Metastasis: From Attacking "ColoradoCare" To Demonizing Democrats

  • by: Colorado Pols

52811a4a700a9_chi-thumbA press release from the nonprofit Colorado Health Institute, one of the state’s principal health policy thinktanks whose study of the potential effects of Amendment 69 led to many lefty organizations backing away from the proposal, warns of a group with a similar-sounding name to theirs operating in a much more overtly political way than CHI ever would:

It has come to our attention that a group calling itself the Colorado Health Care Research Institute is financing ads against Amendment 69. Because this name is so similar to our name — the Colorado Health Institute — we feel it is important to let the community know that our organizations are not related or connected in any way.

The Colorado Health Institute — that’s us — is a nonprofit and nonpartisan health policy research organization based in Denver. Our research informs health policy discussions with evidence and unbiased analysis. We take our mission and our nonpartisan status very seriously.

We have written briefs analyzing various aspects of Amendment 69, but we have not and will not take a position on Amendment 69, or any other ballot issue or bill.

The group paying for the anti-Amendment 69 ads appears on state documents as both the Colorado Health Care Institute and the Colorado Health Care Research Institute. Paperwork at the Secretary of State’s office shows the Colorado Health Care Research Institute — that’s not us — was established in July as a 501(c)4. This is a type of tax-exempt group that can make political donations without revealing its donors.

Again, we don’t know this group, and it is not affiliated in any way with the Colorado Health Institute.

And as it turns out, Amendment 69 isn’t the only target of the so-called Colorado Health Care Research Institute–this “dark money” group’s attacks on Amendment 69 have seamlessly morphed into attacks on Democratic candidates over health care. Mailers from the Colorado Health Care Research Institute are reportedly showing up in mailboxes in numerous key legislative races this week. The principal agent for the group is the ubiquitous Katie Kennedy, also the face you’ll never see for dozens of Republican “independent” committees from the Senate Majority Fund to Colorado Citizens for an Accountable Government of “China Girl” infamy.

For Democrats who have contended with the political hot potato of Amendment 69 for the whole year, the irony of this GOP group shifting from attacks on “ColoradoCare” to attacks on Democratic candidates is readily apparent. In a way, it sums up what the doomed Amendment 69 campaign has proven most useful for politically: as a weapon for Republicans to use, against Democrats whether they support the initiative or not. The misinformation from the GOP about Amendment 69 has been as detached from reality as it was with Obamacare itself, and voters have even less ability to cut through the electioneering noise than they did in 2010. Which you’ll recall was a very tough year to be a Democrat, in large part due to misinformation over health reform.

The moral of the story? For a measure that may not even crack 30% support next Tuesday, “ColoradoCare” wasn’t worth it. If you set out to achieve an ambitious goal, you’d better be aware of not just the consequences of failure, but the collateral damage you’re likely to suffer along the way to failure. The political liability created by Amendment 69 in this election outweighed the political benefits, and the reality that it was never going to pass means that’s all that matters.

This is what was on the minds of Democrats who got out of the way of this well-intentioned but politically misguided proposal back in the summertime. And they are being proven right.


8 thoughts on “Metastasis: From Attacking “ColoradoCare” To Demonizing Democrats

  1. Ahh, punching DFHs–sure feels good to have a scapegoat, doesn't it, Pols?

    Shorter Pols: NEVER try to pass an ambitious progressive program, because it opens the Democratic Party up to attack! Never mind that the Democratic Party establishment and their stable of paid consultants, including Global Strategies Group, has been actively opposing Amendment 69. It's better to just blame anyone even slightly left of moderate for any upcoming losses by centrist Dems. 

    Business as usual.

  2. I don't think I've seen a more craven, cynical, or self-serving post by Pols.

     Pols blames Senator Aguilar and all of the hard working volunteers who tried and are trying to bring a public health care plan to Colorado, for the actions of cynical, well-funded insurance lobbyists.  Progress Now Colorado is on the same side as the Koch Brothers and Advancing Colorado. That looks bad. Someone must be blamed. Let's blame the progressives.

    There isn't any logic there. It's a not-very-subtle demand for progressives to stand down, take no risks, shut up, quit complaining, don't ever advocate for real reform, because maybe some "moderate", "bipartisan" candidates will be tainted by your agenda.

    If the insurance lobby calls itself "Coloradans for Coloradans" and spends millions of dollars to defeat a public health care option, it must be the fault of those naive or bold enough to advance the health care plan in the first place. It couldn't be that the health care industry will stop at nothing to preserve its profits. Blame the lefties, says PNC.

    If some astroturf organization co-opts CHI's name and mission to bring down "moderate" Dems, who ya gonna blame? Progressive health care activists…..of course.

    The outrageous spending by right wing groups to defeat Democrats must be blamed upon those  who stood up for a right to affordable health care.

     ProgressNow Colorado, you didn't want to disclose that all of the Democratic legislators who came out against Coloradocare had taken substantial contributions and honoraria from Colorado Health Institute, the "nonpartisan" organization that torpedoed Coloradocare. This includes the fiance of the PNC director.  It should have been disclosed, period, full stop.

    Then y'all got in bed with Advancing Colorado, the Koch brothers, the insurance industry, and every other right wing PAC that doesn't want to see a public health option. Like it or not, you're both attacking Amendment 69. Yes, you have plenty political cover, what with Planned Parenthood and the unions also attacking 69. The basis of some of these claims is debatable. I've debated it.

    So don't disclose the insurance donors for "progressive" candidates working with the supposedly neutral Colorado Health Institute.  Don't call out the unions on their bad math that can't distinguish between .03 and .003.

    Pontificate about how Coloradocare must be "anti-choice", while none of those coming out against Coloradocare now  have lifted a finger in the last decade to overturn Colorado's prohibition on using state funds for abortion. Federal funds have been banned for abortion since the Hyde Amendment was passed in 1977. Have these mighty Democratic warriors for choice even tried to overturn Colorado's prohibition? Hell no. But they certainly used that prohibition as political cover when it looked like they might be required to take a stand for or against Coloradocare.

    We'll see where you stand when Bernie Sanders and progressives start pushing our new President and Congress for Medicaid for All. What fantastical excuses will you come up with then for your lack of support? Who will you blame when you're in bed with the corporate right wing? What grassroots organizations will you attack to cover your own behinds?

    Guess we'll find out.

    1. Your disrespect of unions is shameless, mj.  They didn't make up the problem of your overlooking the negative effects of 69 on the multi-employer plans common in the building trades.  My late father in law was a bricklayer who often much much of the year working out of state.  You have to go where the work is.

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