U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) has told multiple reporters he’s undecided on the latest GOP bill to kill Obamacare, in part, as he told KOA radio this morning, because he wants to see “whether Colorado is better or worse” under the legislation.
But every analysis of the bill so far, like the one from the progressive Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, shows that Colorado will be worse off.
Gov. John Hickenlooper told reporters yesterday that the legislation would cost the state $800 million to $1 billion in federal health-care dollars.
And it’s widely predicted that millions of people would lose health insurance under the latest GOP bill, just as they would under previous GOP proposals that upend Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for children, elderly, disabled, and other poor people.
So it’s hard to know what information Gardner is waiting for.
In fact, when asked directly by Denver Post political reporter Mark Matthews what specific information he’s looking for, Gardner replied, “just additional information.”
Strangely, though, Gardner told KDMT’s Jimmy Sengenberger last month that the Cassidy-Graham bill would put the country in the “right direction” on health care and “could result in a 42 percent increase in funding for the state of Colorado.”
Gardner did not divulge where he got this information and a call to his office was not immediately returned today.
On KOA radio, Gardner said of the latest Obamacare replacement bill, “I hope it has bipartisan participation and support.”
It’s not clear why Gardner or anyone would express hope for the unreal outcome of bipartisan support, given the GOP’s seven-year partisan campaign to kill Obamacare. Could Gardner possibly be trying to score political points with rhetoric that’s completely divorced from reality?
Here are Gardner’s full comments from KOA, followed by his comments to The Post.
GARDNER: Yeah, there is going to be a hearing on this, I believe on Monday, next week. So, we’ll have an open hearing which is something that I have encouraged to have happen. I hope it has bipartisan participation and support. Look, I think one of the things we need to do is focus on driving down the cost of healthcare. And I have confidence that states can come up with solutions do just that, because [inaudible—“when it comes to”?] states like Colorado come up with really good solutions. It is not always just Washington. And so, I’ve got more information that we’re seeking. There’s some information that we don’t have yet, in terms of the numbers of what it means and its impact to Colorado. And whether Colorado is better or worse, we’ve got to figure that out.
HOST APRIL ZESBAUGH: But Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of your colleagues, says if we don’t effectively tweak Obamacare we’re on our way to a single-payer system. Do you share that sentiment?
GARDNER: I am concerned that there is a great support right now for a single-payer system. It is a $32 trillion tab on Bernie Sanders’ legislation that he introduced, on Medicare For All. The Colorado voters defeated – that’s the single-payer system, that’s socialized medicine, that’s just a code word they’re using — but if you look at Colorado, we defeated the single-payer healthcare system — the Medicare For All system — 80% to 20%, at the same time Hillary Clinton was getting elected in November. So, it’s something Colorado voters have already rejected. And I am concerned that, left on its own, the Affordable Care Act could lead to some who want to do single-payer.
Gardner’s comments today to The Denver Post:
“I’m trying to get some more information on it. [We are] looking into the numbers. We don’t have the numbers that we think we need to make a decision.”
When asked about what specific information he would need to make a decision on Graham-Cassidy, Gardner said, “just additional information.”
“I’m confident that Washington isn’t the only place that has the answers – that we can look to the states for solutions,” Gardner said. “I have great confidence in the people of Colorado to come up with ideas as well.”