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Hickenlooper: ‘Kind of crazy’ to expect health care solutions from small, partisan group

Author: Ernest Luning - June 20, 2017 - Updated: June 20, 2017

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Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, were among a bipartisan group of governors who wrote a letter to Senate leaders on Friday, June 16, 2017, urging Congress to take a bipartisan approach to keeping health care coverage accessible and affordable. (Kasich: AP file photo; Hickenlooper photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, were among a bipartisan group of governors who wrote a letter to Senate leaders on Friday, June 16, 2017, urging Congress to take a bipartisan approach to keeping health care coverage accessible and affordable. (Kasich: AP file photo; Hickenlooper photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)

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.

— Ernest.Luning@coloradopolitics.com

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. Since 2009, he has been the senior political reporter and occasional editor for The Colorado Statesman.


5 comments

  • Michelle

    June 20, 2017 at 8:37 am

    One has seen no signs of Hickylooper’s sobriety since he was elected, so why expect anything but bartender smoke blowing over the bar counter from this devout Democrat/communist?
    His plan is for the penniless Colorado health care programs to join with other Governors to beg for relief of any kind, aware his leadership not only was terrible for the people of his State but makes him look as bad as the other six governors whose giant leap into Obamacare proved disastrous.

    Reply

  • Alan

    June 20, 2017 at 9:49 am

    “To think that a small number in one party are going to come up with the right solutions is kind of crazy.”

    and

    “This is like on-sixth of the U.S. economy, and they’ve gotta have an analysis of this bill ”

    Where were these clowns back in 2009-2010 when the ACA was written and voted on without anyone in Congress having read it first? Maybe if they weren’t so partisan to begin with, there wouldn’t be such a big and growing mess to clean up now.

    Reply

  • E.C.

    June 20, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Ah yes, let’s focus on HOW to do it instead of whether or not we should be doing it at all. Man this is ridiculous. Keep polishing that meadow muffin guys, sooner or later, probably later and somebody else will finally figure out that government itself is the source of the high cost of healthcare, and maybe they will actually rollback government interference and costs will actually come down.

    Reply

  • Tannim

    June 20, 2017 at 1:12 pm

    Shoot, I could give a workable solution by myself tomorrow if I was asked.

    Problem isn’t committee size, but the partisan political dolts on the committee.

    Reply

  • Rick

    June 20, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    “I’ve never had a good idea in my life ….” John Hickeblooper.

    Reply

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