Denver7’s Blair Miller reports:
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Friday joined several other Republican and Democratic governors in criticizing the House-passed version of the bill, saying it does not adequately protect millions of Americans and needs fixing.
Hickenlooper, a Democrat, joined Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D), Massachusetts Gov. Charles Baker (R), Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R), Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) in signing the letter criticizing the House version of the bill.
The letter was addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. All the governors are from states that opted to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
The governors say that the House-passed version of the bill “calls into question coverage for the vulnerable and fails to provide the necessary resources to ensure that no one is left out, while shifting significant costs to the states.”
Meanwhile, back in Washington:
The concerns from Democrats come at a crucial moment for the AHCA, as the group of 13 Republican senators, including Gardner, continue to craft their bill in secrecy…
Gardner has been mostly mum on the bill, but in an interview with Colorado Politics published Friday, he said he wants to preserve protections for Medicaid recipients, which the House version gutted, and again said that the Affordable Care Act was “collapsing.”
He also told Colorado Politics that the Affordable Care Act was “passed in the most partisan of fashions” and that “not a single Republican vote was part of it,” despite Democrats holding months of open hearings while crafting the bill.
In February, Gardner himself said, “It’s important to me that this debate be open and that the American people see what’s happening and taking place,” according to a transcript from HuffPost. “I think as this committee hearings and legislation is being drafted, it’s not going to be something behind closed doors. Everybody is going to be a part of it.”
Sen. Cory Gardner’s first election to Congress in 2010 was built around fierce opposition to the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare. After Gardner won election, he returned to the legislation over and over as a centerpiece in his personal message against both health reform and the Obama administration in general. Gardner falsely claimed that hundreds of thousands of Coloradans had their “coverage cancelled” by Obamacare, when in truth those consumers were being migrated to plans that included Obamacare’s requirements for better coverage. Colorado’s rate of uninsured did not grow despite Gardner’s complaints about “cancellations,” instead dropping to historic lows as thousands gained coverage from the insurance marketplace and the expansion of Medicaid.
Before Trump’s election made repeal an actual possibility, Gardner routinely voted for bills that would have repealed Obamacare without any considerations for the Medicaid expansion population, persons with pre-existing conditions, or others who have benefited. At the same time, Gardner voted for various proposals that severely weakened Obamacare, like refusing to fund health co-ops and then blaming Obama for their insolvency.
After all of that, successful politics even though it has been a fundamentally deceptive campaign of bad faith and self-fulfilling prophecy, we finally have arrived at the moment Cory Gardner and the GOP has been working toward since 2010: where Republicans have total control in Washington and can replace Obamacare with whatever they want.
And it’s not working out, folks. The House celebrated passage of a bill that the Senate immediately declared DOA due to its devastating effect on millions of people now reaping the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. The Senate’s closed-door working group of 13 Republicans claims to be close to finalizing their completely different legislation, which reportedly offers only small concessions from the House bill–the full effects being unknown because the bill is being drafted in secret, exactly what Gardner promised would not happen.
This untenable situation looks ready to come to a head. If Gardner’s group can’t produce a bill that the conservative House will approve, the entire exercise is colossal a waste of time. But Gardner can’t produce a bill the House will pass without breaking even more promises than the promise to not do this behind closed doors. Either way, six years of Gardner’s misinformation and scare tactics are about to meet reality. And Gardner has nowhere to point the finger now except himself.
It’s one of those things that politicians should always consider–what happens if this works? There’s no question that Cory Gardner’s crusade against Obamacare helped him in his rise to one of the most powerful members of the United States Senate.
But now, literally and figuratively, the bill is due.