In some key races for the state legislature, Republicans in Colorado aren’t shying away from attacking the Affordable Care Act, the national health care law.
For example, at campaign stops, state senate candidate Christine Jensen, a Republican running for a Wheat-Ridge-area district, says Colorado is spending way too much on Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for poor people.
Her solution? First, she wants to eliminate the Affordable Care Act, a move that would strip an estimated 400,000 people off the health-insurance rolls in Colorado. These folks got coverage after the national health care law passed.
Pointing to her involvement with a powerful business-lobbying organization, Jensen has said she “works with our state legislature to make sure we’re getting business-friendly legislation.”
RELATED: Jensen’s lobbying group opposed legislation that would have provided paid sick days and time off to care for family members.
Jensen also wants to eliminate “abuses” in the state’s Medicaid program.
She has yet to provide details about the abuses she’s concerned about–and how much money would be saved by addressing them. This “needs to be investigated,” she told the Colorado Times Recorder, adding that some truly needy people need Medicaid.
She has said it’s “wrong” for “able-bodied” adults to receive state health insurance.
Seventy percent of Colorado’s Medicaid recipients work, according to state data. But their wages are so low that they’re still eligible for state-funded health insurance. A family of four qualifies for Medicaid in Colorado if it earns less than about $33,000 per year. For single adults, it’s about $17,000.
Critics say the phrase “able-bodied” is used by politicians to demonize citizens who need help, just as the phrase “welfare queens” maligned poor women in previous decades.
“’Able-bodied adult’ is the new ‘welfare queen’ – a mythical, undeserving American who is somehow not worth helping,” said Natalie Wood, Senior Policy Analyst at the Bell Policy Center, a progressive organization, in an interview with the Colorado Times Recorder last year.
Jensen is facing Democrat Jesse Danielson to represent the Wheat Ridge-area in the Colorado senate, where Republicans currently hold a slim one-seat majority. The outcome of Jensen’s race in November could determine which party controls the senate chamber.
Danielson has the support of Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado, and the labor groups, both of which strongly support the Affordable Care Act.
Jensen’s views on health care reflect the conservative wing of the Republican Party, which tried three times to kill Obamacare, ultimately failing to do so due to former Arizona Sen. John McCain’s thumbs-down vote.
Jensen doesn’t conceal the fact that she’s ultra-conservative on these issues, boasting that her views are on the far right side of the Republican Party.
“It’s certainly wonderful when the Republicans have the majority, but how much more exciting is it when the conservatives are the ones driving the agenda!” she told fellow Republicans in a recent speech asking for the support of GOP candidates like her.