Archive for September, 2017

Does Gardner still think Cassidy-Graham “could result in a 42% increase” in CO health funding?

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

You have to wonder if U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) is going to produce new information about the latest GOP bill to kill Obamacare–something that might make it, at least, look more appealing to Colorado, which stands to lose billions of dollars in federal health care dollars and to see a spike in the number of people uninsured.

Asked about about the bill, called Graham-Cassidy, last month, on Aug. 2, by KDMT 1690-AM’s Jimmy Sengenberger, on his “Business for Breakfast” show, Gardner hinted that he might have some information that no one else has.

Gardner: “But I certainly am interested in it. And I think it’s the right direction… So, it is something that I am very intrigued by. I’d have to understand how the formula works a little bit. And they’re being very quiet about how the formula would work. But it does sound like it could result in a 42 percent increase in funding for the state of Colorado. And so, I just need to learn more about it.”

Gardner did not say a 41 percent increase, nor did he say a 43 percent increase. It was precisely 42 percent, making it appear as if someone whispered a specific numeral in his ear, and the numeral emerged later from his mouth on the radio.

But where or where did Gardner get this figure?

Adam Fox, a spokesman for the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, speculated that the 42-percent figure might have come from U.S. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), the sponsor of the legislation. He was circulating numbers weeks ago showing that some states would benefit from his bill, but his work was discredited, and he’s not produced new numbers, Fox said.

“Multiple studies have slightly different numbers, but they show drastic cuts, especially in states like Colorado that expanded Medicaid. Cassidy-Graham penalizes states like Colorado that covered more people,” said Fox.

“All outside analyses show that Cassidy-Graham will hurt Colorado and devastate our state budget,” Fox said.

Listen to Gardner here:

Denver Post editor disputes GOP gubernatorial candidate’s claim that Post won’t endorse Polis

Monday, September 18th, 2017

At a Sept. 9 campaign stop in Grand Junction, GOP gubernatorial candidate Doug Robinson told the crowd that the “editor” of The Denver Post informed him that U.S. Rep Jared Polis (D-CO) is “too left” for Colorado, and that the unnamed editor “can’t see [The Post] endorsing” Polis.

“This is an interesting story,” said Robinson told supporters at the meet-and-greet event. “When I announced my candidacy, the editor of The Denver Post called me. I was like, ‘Really?’ [laughter]. You know what I mean? Because they have endorsed Democrats for generations. [crowd: “Oh Yeah!”] You know what I mean? And he said, ‘Don’t write us off.’ He says, ‘We are going to endorse a candidate. And if it’s Jared Polis, I can’t see us endorsing him. He’s too left.’ [crowd: “Wow! Ohooo”]. ‘Too far out for Colorado.’ He says, ‘He may be too far out for Colorado.'”

That’s an “interesting story,” to say the least.

Asked about it Friday, Denver Post editorial Page editor Chuck Plunkett said via email that no one on The Denver Post’s editorial board, which has the job of making endorsements for the newspaper, spoke with Robinson about Polis in April, when Robinson claimed the call took place, and that The Post has “not reached any conclusions about endorsements in any of the races.”

Robinson had a phone conversation with the Chair of The Post, Dean Singleton, a few days before Robinson entered the gubernatorial race, but Singleton did not talk to Robinson about Polis at all, according to Plunkett.

Plunkett wrote:

Robinson’s account is incorrect on many levels. For one, I am the editor and I don’t even have his phone number. We’ve never talked.

Only one member of our board has talked with Robinson, and that is our chair, Dean Singleton. I have talked to Dean about the transcript you sent and learned that Robinson’s account is badly flawed.

Dean knows Robinson casually. He got a call from Robinson before he entered the governor’s race. Dean told him that he didn’t think he had a chance at winning, and suggested he might consider running for treasurer. The call came the day or so before Robinson announced, which was in late April. Jared Polis didn’t enter the race until weeks later, in mid-June.

Dean has said publicly that he doubts Polis can win the race, as he’s too liberal for a statewide contest, so Robinson must be conflating events. Dean says he didn’t talk to Robinson about Polis back in April, as the congressman hadn’t even entered the race.

Dean meets with candidates and expresses his opinions as is his right. But — and this is an important point — in doing so he doesn’t speak for our editorial board, or attempt to derail the process we take in coming to conclusions on our endorsements.

I can tell you without doubt we have not reached any conclusions about endorsements in any of the races. A long process awaits before we can get to that point.

I wish Robinson, who’s the nephew of Mitt Romney, returned my phone call or multiple emails seeking comment, but, alas, I didn’t hear back from him.

So we don’t know his side of the story, but clearly someone is confused or not telling the truth here. Or maybe Robinson talked to another Post editor–which is highly unlikely since you wouldn’t expect an editor on the news side to be offering opinions to Robinson.

But, in the absence of a response from Robinson, I’d have to say the guilty party is probably Robinson, especially because his false statement about The Post’s past endorsements punctures his credibility.

Robinson may be so upset that The Post didn’t endorse his uncle that he didn’t noticed all the other Republicans The Post has backed, including Gardner in the 2014.

In the 2014 general election, for Congress, The Post endorsed three Republicans and four Democrats. In the 2016 election, The Post backed five Republicans and five Democrats. The Post picked Obama over Robinson’s uncle in 20012.

I’ll update this post if I hear from Robinson. Meanwhile, this blog post shows, again, that you never know what a political candidate will say at a meet-and-greet.

Robinson is pictured on the right, next to  former gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis, in the above photo, which I found on former Post reporter Lynn Bartels Facebook page.

It’s overreach to blame increased insurance costs on Obamacare

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

Colorado gubernatorial candidate George Brauchler took to Twitter yesterday to blame Obamacare for steep increases in the cost of health insurance purchased from Colorado’s health insurance exchange.

“Thank you, #Obamacare,” tweeted Brauchler, a Republican, citing a Denver Post article.

The Post piece reported that U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, and U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, all Republicans, also blamed Obamacare for the rate increase.

Trouble is, if you read the Post’s story, by Jon Ingold, you find that the cause of the rate increase is, at least in part, the Republican efforts to kill Obamacare, according to state insurance commissioner Marguerite Salazar, who was quoted in The Post:

Salazar said insurers told regulators that the ongoing debate over whether to repeal the Affordable Care Act — and, essentially, change the rules for the individual market only a few years after the rules were first rewritten by the law, also known as Obamacare — led in part to the price increases. Insurers also cited more general market conditions in filings with the state justifying the proposed premiums.

“It was a struggle,” Salazar said. “Markets don’t like uncertainty, bottom line.”

Obviously, we don’t know what “general market conditions” contributed to the rate increases–or to what extent they were related to Obamacare. Though we do know that health insurance prices were increasing prior to Obamacare as well. And we know Republicans have so far chosen not to try to fix problems with Obamacare.

But it’s clearly a ludicrous overreach for Republicans to blame insurance increases on Obama’s health care law, after we just witnessed the spectacular crash of the GOP’s seven-year crusade to repeal Obamacare.