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Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper: Time to roll up sleeves, address health insurance costs, market stability

Author: Ernest Luning - July 28, 2017 - Updated: July 31, 2017

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billColorado Gov. John Hickenlooper speaks at a rally on Aug. 3, 2016, in Commerce City. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)

In the wake of the Republican-controlled Senate’s inability to pass legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act this week, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Friday renewed a call for officials to sit down and come up with a bipartisan solution.

“We are encouraged that the Senate has rejected efforts that would have raised health care costs, limited health care coverage, and hurt hundreds of thousands of Coloradans,” Hickenlooper said in a statement. “It’s time to roll up our sleeves and deliver specific plans that will improve our health insurance system by lowering costs and providing stability for the marketplace. As governors, we are on the front lines of this debate. We must move forward in a transparent, collaborative, bipartisan manner to address problems we can all agree need fixing.”

Senate Republicans came up short early Friday in an effort to pass a bill repealing key elements of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

Hickenlooper and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, have been leading a charge by a bipartisan group of governors urging congressional Republicans to bring Democrats to the table to come up with legislation that keeps health coverage accessible and affordable.

On Wednesday, 10 governors — five Democrats and five Republicans — wrote a letter to Senate leadership asking lawmakers to reject efforts to pass the so-called “skinny” Obamacare repeal, arguing it would “accelerate health plans leaving the individual market, increase premiums, and result in fewer Americans having access to coverage.”

A month ago, when the Senate was first considering a bill to overhaul the nation’s health care system — GOP leaders postponed the votes because not enough Republicans were on board — Hickenlooper and Kasich organized a smaller bipartisan group of governors with the same plea.

“Not only should the Republican senators reach out to Democratic senators, but I would volunteer that there’s a bunch of governors who have to implement what they come up with who could give them substantive and meaningful suggestions on how to control costs and how not to have to roll back coverage,” Hickenlooper said in an appearance on CNN.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.