Gardner Abandons Medicaid Expansion To “Trumpcare” Fate

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

CBS4’s Shaun Boyd aired an interview with Sen. Cory Gardner last night, in which close observers of the debate over the repeal of the Affordable Care Act will detect an important new set of talking points from Gardner that marks a major shift in his public position.

A shift away from protecting patients covered by the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare, who Gardner had paid lip service to ensuring wouldn’t be hurt:

Gardner talked with CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd on Wednesday about the Republican version of the health care bill, which is expected to be released to the public on Thursday…

One of the biggest criticism of the Republican health care bill is that it will cause 22 million people to lose insurance, many of them included in the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

Gardner is part of the main working group on Medicaid reform and says his goal is to save Medicaid for those who need it most.

“If we do nothing, if we let the status quo continue, then I’m worried that that safety net, the important safety net is going to be crowded out. It’s going to be crowded out by other programs, it’s going to be crowded out by a fight for scarce resources- tax dollars- and it’s going to be crowded out by people who are newly eligible to Medicaid: able-bodied adults without children, that’s what the expansion under Obamacare created. I’m worried that those who truly need help the most are going to find it difficult to compete for resources need. That’s why have to make sure Medicaid is sustainable,” said Gardner.

This new line about “the people who need it most” being “crowded out” of Medicaid, and making Medicaid “sustainable,” is an obvious attack on the Medicaid expansion population under the Affordable Care Act. And make no mistake, it’s a shift: back in March, Gardner sent a letter along with several politically vulnerable GOP Senators warning that “any poorly implemented or poorly timed change in the current funding structure in Medicaid could result in a reduction in access to life-saving health care services.” As a Senator in a state that expanded Medicaid (and didn’t vote for Trump), Gardner has been under intense pressure to not make changes that would hurt his own constituents–and has responded with platitudes about the importance of keeping people whole during the “transition away from Obamacare.”

Well folks, not anymore! As of now, Gardner is rationalizing the cuts he once claimed to be worried about. Even worse–in the video interview with Gardner you can watch above, at 1:14 Gardner repeats the roundly-discredited claim that “There will be more money going into Medicaid.” That’s a rank falsehood relying on ignorance of how the system works over time as population and inflation grow–and papers over the millions who would never obtain health coverage under the GOP plan that would under the current law.

One thing this latest shift from Gardner cannot be considered, though, is a surprise. As the GOP-controlled Congress has lurched forward this year in their Moby Dick obsession with repealing Obamacare, the years of misinformation and false promises from Gardner to deliver “something better” have stood out in dangerously sharp relief. Gardner’s in-state approval has plummeted below 30%, indicating a severe loss of support from conservatives as well as opposition from the left. Gardner is hopelessly caught between a record he can’t make disappear and a promise voters no longer want him to keep.

What’s Gardner got left? His true colors. Which is what he just showed.


22 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. RepealAndReplace says:

    The new bill is out….

    A marginal improvement over the discussion draft. $70 billion in subsidies and keeping two ACA taxes in place but otherwise same shit as before but with Ted Cruz' amendment added allowing non-compliant plans.

    • ModeratusModeratus says:

      What will it take to make a deal? It sounds like Democrats will not negotiate even though they have no power, only threaten and encourage their supporters to commit violence? This bill is a concession. Tell me what you would accept besides nothing.

      • DavieDavie says:

        Or as Cory Gardner, Mitch McConnell, et al say:

        Given the choice of a $700 billion tax cut for the wealthy, vs. preventing tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths, hundreds of thousands more sick and suffering, not to mention financial ruin, well, gosh, we gotta go with the tax cut, of course!

      • ajb says:

        Ah, the talking points are out. Despite controlling all 3 branches of government, Republicans want to blame Democrats. You don't need a single Democratic vote. You and every Republican own it, Moddy. So go ahead and have your celebration on the White House lawn. Gather 'round and take a big ol' dump on the Hypocratic Oath: "First, do no harm…"

      • Diogenesdemar says:

        "Nothing" sounds good; it's a deal!

        . . . unless, of course, you'd like to explain why this bill new-name-on-the-last-bill would be better than "nothing"??????????

      • DawnPatrol says:

        NO DEALS, fuckface.

        We don't negotiate with terrorists.

      • unnamed says:

        Tell me how repealing Obamacare benefits Americans Moldy.

      • FrankUnderwood says:

        OK, Fluffy…’s an idea that might work…..

        The extra money for subsidies and keeping those two taxes to fund the existing law are nice gestures but the GOP has a long way to go. 

        As for what we would accept: ideally a single-payer system but I can't picture Ryan or McConnell letting that come to be.

        Short of that, you can take the existing A.C.A., add a provision stating, "Henceforth this law shall not be known, or referred to, as 'Obamacare' but may be referred to as 'GOP-Care'," and then call it a day.

        They can all pat themselves on the back, tell their base that they've repealed "Obamacare" and tell every that they've saved the Affordable Care Act. 

        But change nothing else……. 

  2. unnamed says:

    Obey your master.  Master.  Master of puppets pulling the strings.

  3. kwtreemamajama55 says:

    Cory Gardner met with Democratic socialists last week?  He did a long distance phone call with protesters who sat in to his office. Here's the transcript of the call.

    And here's the kicker: After the call, the protesters were dragged out and arrested. Not exactly great constituent relations, Cory.

    Gardner also claimed in the interview that he met with the protesters who had occupied his office for 57 hours. Gardner met with two ADAPT activists in DC in May 2017 – but again, someone had to get arrested first, before the Congressman would talk. And the Senate bill, of course, hadn't been drafted yet at that point.  Here's a copy of Atlantis ADAPT May 17 status about the DC Gardner meeting:

    Atlantis ADAPT with Senator Cory Gardner and 8 others.

    about 2 months ago ·  (video by Dawn Russell)

    Senator Cory Gardner meets members of Atlantis ADAPT in DC

    After two arrests at his office, after numerous meetings with staff, members of Atlantis ADAPT finally got a chance to speak with Senator Cory Gardner at the United States Capitol and the conversation went well. We are not monsters, we are concerned constituents worried that health care "reform" will result in massive cuts to the Medicaid home and community based long-term services and supports we rely on to survive our daily lives. Hopefully this will be the beginning of the dialog directly with the Senator, that direct dialog was extremely helpful with Congressman Mike Coffman

    The only mention I found of Gardner discussing Medicaid expansion for those with disabilities was this 3/6/17 letter he and several other M o C wrote to Leader Mitch McConnell "outlining concerns that the February 10th draft health care plan from the House does not adequately protect individuals and families in Medicaid expansion programs or provide necessary flexibility for states."

    On 12/7/17, Gardner promoted Medicare funding to keep Craig hospital open. Wonder what Craig Hospital will do now if the Senate bill passes?

    Where did that touching concern for individuals and families in Medicaid expansion programs go?

    Nowhere on Gardner's press release web page is an ADAPT or Atlantis meeting mentioned during the last 6 months. 

    Bottom line: Constituents with legitimate concerns should be able to set up normal, formal, sit-down meetings and town halls with their Senator. They should not have to occupy his office, yell at him on the street, or get arrested simply to have a conversation about Medicaid or Medicare cuts.


    • Andrew Carnegie says:


      Ever since your fellow Bernie socialist shot up the baseball field it seems there have have been less Congress folks wanting to meet with them.

      I wonder why?

  4. notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

    When even Lamebrain and Coffman are willing to have those meetings, it only makes Conman Cory look worse. He must be so grateful to his Republican friends in the Lower Chamber.

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