Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Robinson told Colorado Public Radio this week that, as governor, he wouldn’t try to roll back Obamacare, putting him at odds with fellow primary candidate Walker Stapleton and Victor Mitchell.
Asked by Colorado Public Radio’s Ryan Warner whether he’d “roll back the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare,” Robinson said:
Robinson: “Really hard to roll things back, right? What we need to do is to change the incentives. So I would look at things as I said, like managed care. I would look at maybe increasing the co-pays or doing what Indiana did. They now charge a small premium to their Medicaid folks every month, it’s from $8 to $18 a month, and it makes a difference in how those people consume health care.”
Stapleton, the front runner in the GOP primary, would go further on Obamacare than Robinson, saying in a KOA 850-AM radio appearance last year and elsewhere he wants to get rid of the online marketplace where Obamacare-approved insurance plans are sold to the public.
In the KOA interview, Stapleton said that “we’re going to have to scrap the exchange” in Colorado, because it’s “not viable.”
Stapleton’s stance against the insurance market place, a core element of the Affordable Care Act, comes close saying he wants Obamacare repealed totally, though Stapleton has yet to say so explicitly.
But Stapleton has said Obamacare’s individual mandate, the federal requirement that Americans must have health insurance, is a “disaster.”
Robinson is also against Obamacare’s health insurance mandate, which was intended to keep insurance rates down by ensuring that young and healthy people, as well as old and sick ones, are paying into the system.
It was eliminated under the new federal GOP tax law.
Stapleton, who is Colorado’s treasurer, presumably supports the Republican move to end the mandate, even though the provision is expected to throw 235,000 people off the Medicaid insurance rolls in Colorado by 2025, according to the Center for American Progress, a liberal research organization.
Stapleton told me after a debate in February that he believes the federal government will turn Medicaid into a “block grant” for the states, and he gave no indication that he’d oppose such efforts to do this, like the Obamacare repeal bills that died in the U.S. Senate last year. He told KHOW radio host Ross Kaminsky the same thing in an Oct. 17 interview (at 56 min).
Stapleton explained to Kaminsky that he’d save Medicaid dollars by offering diverse types of health-insurance plans to different segments of the population, including “plans with higher deductibles, catastrophic plans.” He also wants to increase “community healthcare centers.”
Stapleton has said multiple times that Florida Gov. Rick Scott has done a “good job” managing Medicaid (at 56 min).
This raises questions because, according to the Orlando Sentinel, Scott’s “political career is largely defined by opposition to the Affordable Care Act.”
Scott even called on Congress to keep trying to kill the health care law after U. S. Senate Republicans failed three times in dramatic fashion to repeal it.
Republican GOP primary candidate Victor Mitchell, a former state lawmaker, is also hostile toward Obamacare.
Last year, he told the Colorado Independent’s Cory Hutchins in no uncertain terms that, as governor, he would “immediately” pull out of Colorado’s Obamacare exchange, and he believes this could be done without legislative approval.
Depending on how far Mitchell goes in extracting Colorado from Obamacare, the state could face the loss of hundreds of thousands of people from the Medicaid insurance rolls.
Former Parker mayor Greg Lopez would turn to health care officials for advice on what to do in Colorado, telling the Independent, “They’re the ones that have the solutions,” he said. “They’re the ones who have true optics as to what’s going on.”