Govs. John Hickenlooper, John Kasich take another stab at health care

Author: Joey Bunch - February 22, 2018 - Updated: March 15, 2018

In this June 2017 photo, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, right, joined by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, speaks during a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington about retaining the federal health care law’s individual mandate while seeking to stabilize individual insurance markets. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, file)

Last summer Govs. John Hickenlooper and John Kasich urged Congress to take a bipartisan approach to fixing the nation’s healthcare system. Now the Colorado Democrat and Ohio Republican are trying again, according to an announcement Wednesday night from the Colorado governor’s office.

The announcement promises a bipartisan group of governors will unveil a blueprint for health care, and includes Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, an independent, to the partnership.

A press conference is scheduled for Friday morning at the National Press Club. Kasich and Hickenlooper appeared there last summer in their first attempt to continue insurance provided by Obamacare for millions of Americans, while compromising between Democrats and Republicans. The GOP at the time was trying to repeal and replace the healthcare system and mandatory health insurance that was the signature achievement of President Obama.

They couldn’t do it, but since then Republicans used the tax reform bill to remove the penalty for failing to have insurance, the pillar that supports much of the expanded insurance market.

Hickenlooper, Kasich and other governors offered Congress a seven-page plan that included:

  • Immediate federal action to stabilize markets.
  • An active federal/state partnership.
  • Responsible reforms that preserve coverage gains and control costs.
  • Leave in place the individual mandate to buy insurance or pay a fine until Congress can devise a “credible replacement.”
  • Continue to fund cost-sharing reduction subsidies to insurers, which were created by the Affordable Care Act to help lower-income workers afford insurance.
  • Implement a $15 billion state stability fund modeled off a program in Alaska that helped ease the price of monthly premiums. But the plan does not mention funding for such a program.
  • Help for counties underserved by insurers.

You can read the plan by clicking here.

Other governors who signed on to that plan were Louisiana’s John Bel Edwards, a Democrat; Montana’s Steve Bullock, a Democrat; Nevada’s Brian Sandoval, a Republican; Pennsylvania’s Tom Wolf, a Democrat; and Virginia’s Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.