Hickenlooper: ‘Kind of crazy’ to expect health care solutions from small, partisan group
Author: Ernest Luning - June 20, 2017 - Updated: June 20, 2017
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, on Monday called on Senate Republicans to invite Democrats to the table and bring negotiations over health care legislation into the open.
“I’ve never had a good idea in my life that, the moment I started talking about it with staff or people around me, it didn’t suddenly get better,” Hickenlooper told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “To think that a small number in one party are going to come up with the right solutions is kind of crazy.”
Hickenlooper and Kasich are among a bipartisan group of seven governors — four Democrats and three Republicans — who wrote Senate leadership on Friday urging them to take a bipartisan approach to come up with legislation that keeps health coverage accessible and affordable.
Senate Republicans say they intend to vote by next week on legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. A group of 13 GOP senators — including Colorado’s Cory Gardner — has been working behind closed doors on a Senate version of a bill the House passed last month.
“They’ve got to let people know what they’re doing,” Kasich said during the two governors’ appearance on the Anderson Cooper 360 show. “This is like on-sixth of the U.S. economy, and they’ve gotta have an analysis of this bill and know how many people it’s going to affect and how much it’s going to cost.”
Legislation passed by the House would lead to 23 million Americans losing health coverage by 2026, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO has yet to weigh in on the Senate version, because it has yet to be unveiled.
In their letter, the seven governors identified what they termed “common ground in driving down costs and stabilizing the marketplace” and listed four points they said ought to guide the Senate’s legislation: improving affordability; stabilizing insurance markets; providing flexibility to states and encouraging innovation; and improving the regulatory environment.
Hickenlooper and Kasich told Cooper that transparency and bipartisanship aren’t just good in principle but are the only ways to achieve a health care policy that will work in the long run.
“Reach out to the Senate Democrats, work this thing together, because if you don’t,” Kasich said, “it’s not sustainable, and the next administration’s going to overturn this, and we never get to the fundamental issue of what’s driving increasing health care costs, which we also have to do on a bipartisan basis.”
Hickenlooper said he’d recently been joking with Kasich that they could go through all the issues surrounding health care and probably only find themselves at an impasse on 5 percent of them. “We could find compromise on almost everything,” he said.
“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 added.