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Tom RamstackTom RamstackSeptember 14, 20174min551

 

Republicans and Democrats in Congress proposed more revisions to the nation’s health insurance this week while Colorado politicians struggled with the same concerns over skyrocketing premiums that are fueling the national controversy.

Governor John Hickenlooper continued to argue for a bipartisan plan while a gubernatorial candidate who wants his job recommended a Medicare-for-everyone option.

Hickenlooper (D) spoke to a Fort Collins business group this week, where he described health insurance as a factor weighing on other economic priorities.

He developed an alternative to the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act that he says could provide health insurance to a large number of underserved persons but lower premiums.

He announced the plan last week with co-developer Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich as the Colorado Division of Insurance said it has approved an average health insurance premium for next year of nearly 27 percent.

Meanwhile, Democratic candidate for governor Cary Kennedy unveiled a plan this week that would give all Coloradans an option to purchase insurance through the state’s Medicaid, Health First Colorado or state employee health plan.

The former state treasurer said the plan would encourage the kind of competition that would bring down insurance premiums.

“We can offer more choices, address the rural disparities in access and affordability and lower costs,” Kennedy said in a statement. “That’s why today I am proposing giving everyone in Colorado the ability to buy into our public health insurance plans.”

Kennedy’s plan is similar to a proposal from Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., to extend Medicare and Medicaid benefits to nearly the entire U.S. population.

Although Sanders first announced his plan during his failed run for president last year, he discussed a revised version this week that would make insurance premiums adjustable based on income. Low income persons would pay no premiums while the wealthiest people and corporations would be charged high rates.

The revamped Sanders plan drew criticism from Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner on Thursday.

“The Bernie Sanders socialized medicine plan is not the answer to fix our broken healthcare system,” Gardner said in a statement. “Year after year, Coloradans are forced to reckon with rising insurance premiums and fewer choices and anyone who thinks a government takeover of our healthcare system is the answer is not serious about finding real solutions for the American people.”

He said the current Obamacare system was “a failure in states across the country, including Colorado, and it is not reasonable to think more government is the solution.”

Extending Medicare beyond senior citizens it was designed to protect would leave the retirees with even fewer health insurance resources, Gardner said.

Meanwhile, Republicans continued to propose more health insurance solutions during hearings this week as time runs out in the current congressional session. Insurance companies predict premiums will take another leap upward nationwide next year.



Tom RamstackTom RamstackSeptember 13, 20176min505
WASHINGTON — A congressional hearing Wednesday implied broad changes are coming soon for Colorado’s highway transportation industry from self-driving truck technologies. Driverless trucks are part of the automated vehicle technology being developed by government agencies and private companies. They use computerized sensors to steer, throttle and brake vehicles, usually without human intervention. Senators at the […]

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Tom RamstackTom RamstackSeptember 13, 20176min476
WASHINGTON — A congressional committee considered a bill this week to expand recreational opportunities for hunters and fishermen, but the legislation also would make it easier to buy gun silencers. The bill’s Republican supporters said during a hearing that silencers would protect the hearing of hunters and gun enthusiasts. Colorado Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, is […]

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Tom RamstackTom RamstackAugust 4, 201711min331
H.R. 2430: FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017 This was a vote to pass H.R. 2430 in the Senate. Most of this bill allows the Food and Drug Administration to continue its normal operations, such as collecting fees from pharmaceutical companies to review their drug applications for safety and commercial sales. This year it includes the […]

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Tom RamstackTom RamstackFebruary 1, 201710min406

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling is pending in a trademark registration case likely to influence policies in Colorado on the use of Native American names for sports teams. An Oregon rock band called The Slants is challenging a denial by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to register a trademark for its name. Trademark officials say the name is offensive to Asian Americans. The Slants say denying the band a trademark infringes their First Amendment free speech rights. The case is being closely watched by the Washington Redskins football team, which had its trademark revoked by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office after complaints by Native American groups who said the team's name is an ethnic slur.


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Tom RamstackTom RamstackJanuary 26, 201710min316

The political dispute over repealing Obamacare is shaping up to be as fierce in Colorado as anywhere else. Republicans in the Colorado delegation to Congress have signaled their support of President Donald Trump's pledge to repeal the health care system as soon as possible. But different opinions are coming from Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, both of whom want to preserve at least parts of Obama's signature piece of legislation. DeGette hosted a rally at the Laborers Hall in Denver last week and a roundtable discussion at St. Joseph’s Hospital to discuss the risks of repealing the Affordable Care Act. She said Congress should be working to bring down premium prices rather than repealing the Affordable Care Act.


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Tom RamstackTom RamstackJanuary 22, 20178min391

America received a new president last week who brings to Colorado the same controversies that marked his tumultuous election campaign. The inauguration ceremonies in Washington included thousands of Coloradans who came to either protest or support Donald Trump. Heather Toth, Colorado organizer of the Women’s March on Washington, said she marched in Washington to let Trump know, “Hey, we didn’t vote for you but we matter as much as the people who did vote for you.”


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Tom RamstackTom RamstackJanuary 19, 20179min391

The U.S. Supreme Court heard the case last week of a Colorado woman who wants to reimbursed for the fines she paid before her felony convictions were overturned. If she wins when the Court’s decision is announced in the next couple of months, the ruling would invalidate a state law that requires exonerated convicts to prove they are "actually innocent" and not just "legally innocent" before they can be reimbursed. The woman, Shannon Nelson, argues the Colorado law violates the Due Process Clause of the Constitution's 14th Amendment.


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Tom RamstackTom RamstackJanuary 16, 201713min393

Following the Senate confirmation hearing last week for Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump's nominee for secretary of state, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner walked away impressed by the candidate presented to him as the incoming presidential administration and its appointees begin to filter in closer to filling their executive branch positions. Gardner said he came away from the confirmation hearing for Tillerson pleased by the former ExxonMobil CEO's presentation.