Kelley & Kafer Show, Ken Buck, July 7, 2017

Station:    KNUS, 710 am

Show:     Kelley & Kafer Show

Guests:    Buck, Ken


Date:        July 7, 2017


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HOST KRISTA KAFER:  I absolutely love talking to one of my favorite Congressmen, Congressman Ken Buck of the Fourth Congressional District. He’s just fantastic. He’s a fantastic Congressman, as well as an author. He’s got a new book out. Anyway, I love the fact that he’s saying to his fellow Congressmen, “Guys, we have got to stick around through August. We gotta get this done.”  Welcome to the show, Congressman Ken Buck.


KAFER:  And I bet your book is selling pretty much like hotcakes right now, isn’t it?

BUCK:  Well, I don’t know about ‘hotcakes’, but it is selling and I’m happy that the word is getting out.

KAFER:  Well, it’s a solid book. It’s a great book. I think it’s your first book, isn’t it?

BUCK:  It is my first, yes.

KAFER:  Well, you started off very well. I thought it was a terrific book. But, the reason I have you on the show today is that I love the fact that you’re saying to Congress, who typically takes August off – which is a terribly hot month for the district, but also a good time to get home and do district work. But you’re saying, “Guys, we gotta stick around. We gotta get this done.” I really appreciate that.

BUCK:  You know, we have so many things that are undone at this point. We have not finished the — reforming the Affordable Care Act. We have not started the tax reform that we promised the American people. We haven’t started the budget for next fiscal year. We haven’t done the appropriations bills. We haven’t talked about the infrastructure package. There are there are many accomplishments so far on smaller issues, but in terms of the big issues that the American public gave Republicans the House, the Senate, the White House, we have not moved on those. And we’ve got to. We will never be a credible governing majority if we don’t get those things done. And going back to our districts in August is just a bad idea. It’s a bad optic. And it’s a bad – really– process to ignore what the American people are asking us to do.

KAFER:  Well said. I know it’s hot in DC and I just think it’s almost unbearable. But there is a magical thing called air conditioning and so I know you all won’t be too uncomfortable. But I want to ask you [about] prospects for the healthcare reform bill. You have the House version, you have the emerging Senate version that may or may not pass, and then there’s now a push to go with a pure repeal bill and then come together, perhaps in a bipartisan way, and work on a replacement. What are the odds that that could happen?

BUCK:  Well, first, Krista, let me say, it is hot in August of 2017. But if we don’t get our work done, it’s going to be even hotter in Washington DC in November of 2018.

KAFER:  [laughs] Well said!

BUCK:  So, I would much rather put up with the heat now than later. I think there’s a chance that there’s a full repeal. I have to tell you, the Republicans in the House and Senate were just pounding their chests and being so macho with the full repeals that they sent to President Obama when they knew that they would be vetoed and would not become law. And they were sort of messaging bill we could all go out and campaign on. But now that we have a president who will sign a full repeal, it’s time that we send him a repeal. And it’s time that we sit down with Democrats, that we come up with a plan, that we hold hearings, we listen to the American public, and we’re able to move forward.
And I hope we get Democrat votes on it but either way, we have got to make sure that that we stop the death spiral that the Affordable Care Act is in right now.

KAFER:  What I like about a pure repeal is that it sort of cuts off the bridge to the status quo and it forces both Democrats and Republicans to come up with some sort of a replacement, because, if it’s – as it stands now, there’s really no incentive for Democrats to get involved at all. All they do is sort of, you know, shake their heads and wag their fingers. But if people are going to lose health insurance unless something is done, it forces everyone to come to the table, doesn’t it?

BUCK:  I think it does. And really, hopefully, it forces us to look at things in a financially responsible manner. It’s easy to say, “We’re going to cover all these things and just go further into debt.” It’s another thing to say, “How are we going to pay for these things? How are we going to – in a responsible way – make sure that the most vulnerable in our society – those folks with pre-existing conditions, those folks that cannot take care of themselves and truly need Medicaid and other assistance programs, how do we take care of those folks, [while] at the same time we incentivize work, we incentivize responsible behavior by people so that we don’t drive up costs of medical care?”

KAFER:  Well, I think about – you know, there are Coloradans that they with disabilities, people with pre-existing conditions — of which I have a couple — that had always kept themselves insured, have lived very responsible and healthy lives. I think those are the folks that need to be helped. I don’t think — the kid that wants to jump on and off of health insurance and have his neighbor essentially cover his health issues, that’s the person I think who needs to be cut off, at least for their own sake, to become a more responsible person.

BUCK:  Absolutely, there are ramifications for that. You know, a young person, 25 years old, that jumps on and off insurance, if they’re off insurance and they get into a car wreck, someone ends up paying those bills. You know, that kid will declare bankruptcy and we have at that situation. And I’m not suggesting for a moment that we have single-payer, but I am suggesting that we think through, “How do we incentivize a young person? How do we make it affordable? How we make it – how do we create an education program so that young people understand that the responsible thing to do is to have health insurance, and at the same time, not make it out of their reach to be on a health insurance plan?”

KAFER:  I couldn’t agree more. I think there is another group I would call irresponsible people, and that is often middle-aged people who decide, “Well, I would rather take a vacation than pay for health insurance,” and either they don’t get health insurance or they go into Medicaid under the expansion and have someone else pay for their health insurance, when they could simply sacrifice a bit and pay for their own health insurance. And I I think that’s got to be changed as well, don’t you think?

BUCK:  I do. And there are so many other factors. For example, how do we drive down the cost of healthcare? — not just deal with the insurance markets, but healthcare itself has just been such an ever-increasing cost that it makes absolutely no sense. And if we increase supply and we decrease demand, market forces will take over. And we have the ability in government to influence those things. I don’t think government creates jobs. And I don’t think government efficiently manipulates the marketplace. But we have the ability to influence the marketplace with government action, and we should.

KAFER:  Well said! So I think, you know, the market could cover most of these situations. There is a handful of, you know – well, more than a handful, but a group of people here in America – that have severe health issues, not by their own choice. Maybe it’s MS, maybe it’s Muscular Dystrophy, maybe it’s Cystic Fibrosis. Those are the folks that I’m  willing to I’d like to help to perhaps a high risk pool I realize that they are in a difficult situation not by their own choosing and so how do we allow government to support those folks who need it, while letting the rest of us be well-served by a free marketplace.  I wanted to ask you another quick question and that is:  did you have a chance to hear President Trump’s speech in Poland? I thought it was quite beautiful.

BUCK:  I did not. I have heard a lot of good comments about it on the radio. I did not. I was in meetings in the district all day today, and so I didn’t hear it. But I’m anxious to see parts of it this evening.

KAFER:  I think you’ll be really pleased. It was – I think it’s the version of Tru – of President Trump – I’d like to see more of. He was just — he was calm. He was measured. And he gave a beautiful speech. I think you’ll be very pleased when you hear it. Congressman Ken Buck, thanks so much for coming on today. And thanks so much for pushing your fellow members to “get ‘er done.” I think between that and your book, which exposes some of the kind of underhanded things going on in DC, I think you’re being a very good influence in a body that could use some reform.

BUCK:  Well, I appreciate it. We’re going to drain the swamp, one way or another.

KAFER:  One way or another! One of my favorite thing about your book is the alligator in the reflecting pool on the front. I thought that was just genius!

BUCK:  [chuckles]

KAFER:  Absolute genius! But it’s a terrific book and I just want to say – if I don’t have a chance to say it again – I just think you’re a wonderful Congressman and I really appreciate the work you’re doing

BUCK:  Thank you so much! It’s been great to be on with you today.

KAFER:  Thank you so much, Congressman, and let’s just hope that they heed your advice and use that air conditioning and stay in DC over August. Good luck with pushing your fellow members to do that and have a terrific day!

BUCK:  Thank you!  You, also.

KAFER:  Thanks so much, Congressman. Congressman Ken Buck, I know there’s people out there [saying], like, “Why are you giving compliments to the Congressman?”
Actually there is a handful of Congressmen that I just really like. I like Congressman Ken Buck. I like Congressman Coffman. I like Senator Cory Gardner. I even like Congressman Jared Polis. Not that I – I actually think he s wrong 99% of the time, but I like him as a person. And you know what? We don’t always have to be cynical and angry. Sometimes we can just say, “Hey, I like these people and I think they’re trying to do their best under difficult circumstances.” I certainly am willing to say that about Congressman Ken Buck. When we get back, if you’ve got thoughts about the President’s speech, or about Congressman Ken Buck’s push to keep Congress in session over August – which I think is an excellent idea. I tell you what, let’s take a tiny departure from politics, because a dude broke out of prison using a drone. I want to tell you about it, plus also catch your calls at 303-696-1971. Let’s take a quick break. You’re listening to 710, KNUS.