Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirJune 9, 20174min362
iStock image / zimmytws

Actually, the pro-GOP advocacy group Compass Colorado used even stronger language in a shot at Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper this week over his proposed use of carrot and stick on insurers to keep the state’s health insurance exchange viable. The governor himself put a more pragmatic spin on it.

At issue is the governor’s acknowledgment Wednesday on Colorado Public Radio’s Colorado Matters that he might cut Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield out of lucrative Medicaid contracts administered by the state if the insurance giant exits the state’s health insurance exchange, set up under Obamacare. It’s one option under consideration and is similar to a plan announced by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo:

“We’ve certainly talked about that,” Hickenlooper said, “… as a way to try to provide motivation that more insurers cover all parts of the state — or at least a number of parts of the state.”

That prompted a press statement from Compass Executive Director Kelly Maher:

“Apparently, mob-style blackmail tactics are an acceptable way to conduct business if you’re the Governor. … Demanding a private company bail out the state health exchange, or face the consequences financially, is like government meets The Godfather.”

Like its counterparts in other states, Colorado’s health insurance exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, was established under Obamacare to let individuals and small businesses compare available health plans, select the coverage that best suits them and, if they qualify, receive subsidies to help pay their premiums.

Colorado’s exchange has been the subject of endless partisan debate, much like Obamacare nationally; it also has experienced assorted woes since its inception.

Earlier this year, federal auditors found the exchange had misspent or failed to account for some $9.7 million in grants used to set up the program. Of greater concern, though, has been the exodus of insurers like Anthem from the exchange because they are losing money, as well as soaring premiums for individual health plans acquired through the exchange.

According to the CPR report, if Anthem drops out of the exchange, Coloradans in 14 counties would be unable to use the exchange to help them buy health coverage.


Ernest LuningErnest LuningMay 30, 20177min1050

A local conservative organization is charging that Democrat Levi Tillemann is only pretending to be weighing a bid for Congress and has demanded the Aurora resident make his campaign official. But the former Obama administration official insists he’s staying “well within the boundaries” of federal election law and plans to decide soon whether or not to join an already crowded primary field for the chance to challenge U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman in next year’s election.


Ernest LuningErnest LuningMarch 10, 201711min1034

In the halls of the Colorado Capitol and across social media, Republican elected officials got creative this week coming up with ways to declare a long-awaited bipartisan transportation-funding package dead on arrival. “If it was a trial balloon, it has more of a resemblance to the Hindenburg,” state Sen. Tim Neville, R-Littleton, told The Colorado Statesman outside Senate chambers.


Ernest LuningErnest LuningMarch 9, 201720min789

Conservative gadfly Matt Arnold, a persistent thorn in the side of lots of Colorado Republicans, dug in a little deeper this week. In response to a complaint filed by Arnold’s Campaign Integrity Watchdog organization, the El Paso County GOP admitted in court Tuesday that it made some mistakes in campaign finance filings last year and agreed to pay nominal fines. It’s the most recent win notched by Arnold’s organization but, according to some of his detractors, it’s also a salvo in the battle for control of the state Republican Party, a contention Arnold vehemently denies.


Mike McKibbinMike McKibbinJanuary 16, 201713min405

The battle lines will likely soon become clear - if they aren't already - at the state Capitol, as the Colorado Legislature gets its feet underneath itself and moves through the hundreds of bills already introduced since the session began Jan. 11. The main issues will be familiar in most cases: transportation, education and healthcare will be among the big three, and with the House in Democratic control and the Senate in Republican control, there are very likely contentious days ahead.


Mike McKibbinMike McKibbinAugust 29, 201618min366

It's official, the fight against fracking has reached a dead end in this 2016 election year in news perhaps not surprising to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. The governor this week predicted the demise of two ballot initiatives that would have sought to limit hydraulic fracturing operations in the state. Turns out he was right. Neither of the two measures proposed by anti-fracking activist groups will appear on the November general election ballot after the Colorado Secretary of State's Office determined not enough valid signatures had been turned in by advocates to accomplish that goal. Anti-fracking groups allege an "unprecedented" amount of opposition funding and harassment of petition signature collectors by oil- and-natural-gas-backed opponents helped to keep the two proposed measures off the ballot.

Jared WrightJared WrightAugust 25, 201642min464

DENVER — Good day and welcome to the Hot Sheet revolution — the idea that you can get all your insider Colorado political news in one place without having to scour the Internet and wade through the political catacombs yourself, a process that would take you hours a day and leave you filthy and exhausted at best. Trust me, I know. So here it is, The Hot Sheet, cooked up just for you ... you're welcome. Today is the National Park Service's 100th Anniversary! For those of us growing up or living in the American West, it's a day that shares a special place in all our hearts. What a privilege to share the incredible beauty of our public lands! On August 25, 1916 President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill into law to create the National Park Service to oversee the already-established national parks and “such other national parks and reservations of like character as may be hereafter created by Congress.” To the National Park Service, "Let the Eagle Soar"