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Marianne GoodlandNovember 14, 20172min1550

Henry Sobanet, the governor’s go-to on the budget, is widely regarded as the best numbers guy in the state when it comes to the budget and to complex financial issues affecting the state budget. Sobanet works equally well with Republicans, having served as budget director for Gov. Bill Owens a decade ago, and in the same role for the past seven years for Gov. John Hickenlooper.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirNovember 1, 20172min5560

… courtesy of reliably right-of-center Colorado Peak Politics, which isn’t about to cut Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper any slack.

As noted here earlier this week, Hick’s office had announced Sue Birch, executive director of the state Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, will leave to take over the Washington State Health Care Authority. The announcement included accolades for Birch from the governor himself, lauding the former public health nurse’s accomplishments.

The next day, Peak countered with this far less flattering view of Birch’s work:

Doctors and hospitals are still waiting on millions of dollars in late Medicaid payments, and they might have to wait a little longer because the person responsible for writing the checks is fleeing her job and the Hickenlooper administration.

… If Washington’s H.R. department had bothered to Google her work as executive director of the Health Care Policy and Financing Department, they would learn that she contained costs by not making the required payments.

Peak is referring to a major snafu in the implementation of a new computer system by Birch’s department last spring that resulted in the widespread, inadvertent denial of Medicaid claims, hampering reimbursement. AdvocacyDenver, which serves citizens with developmental disabilities, offers an in-depth and balanced recap of that issue on its website; read it here.


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Dan NjegomirDan NjegomirOctober 31, 20172min3090

The Hickenlooper cabinet member credited by the governor with having “ushered Colorado through incredible changes to our health care system” stepped down this week to take a similar job in Washington’s state government. The office of Gov. John Hickenlooper announced Monday that Sue Birch, executive director of the state Department of Health Care Policy and Financing will take over the Washington State Health Care Authority.

Hick lauded Birch’s contributions in the announcement:

“With her guidance, we’ve expanded coverage for all Coloradans, streamlined services and worked to contain costs. She has been an integral part of my Cabinet and will be missed.”

The announcement also notes:

Under Birch’s leadership, Colorado has consistently ranked among the top states in health system performance and long-term services and supports on various national scorecards.

A onetime public health nurse, Birch has led the department commonly known as “HickPuff” since 2011 and was one of the governor’s earliest cabinet appointees.

(By the way, the “Hick” in HickPuff has nothing to do with the governor’s name; it’s an attempt to breathe life into the acronym HCPF. You knew that, of course.)

You can read more about Birch’s tenure at HCPF here via the governor’s website.

 


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Taylor HendersonTaylor HendersonOctober 27, 20175min5160

Colorado has a robust and growing solar energy sector, with the total installed capacity growing 70 percent last year alone. Six thousand Coloradans now develop, install and maintain solar projects across the state, while many more supply important componentry to the industry. Nearly one gigawatt of solar power is installed in the state, representing over $2.7 billion in investment and providing enough electricity for almost 200,000 homes. Unfortunately, a recent ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) threatens to put a solar eclipse on those jobs, investments and future growth.


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Marianne GoodlandOctober 23, 20179min164
Colorado has the team in place to make big-ticket transportation projects come to life, according to state officials. What the state doesn’t have is the money. Monday, Gov. John Hickenlooper, along with transportation officials and business leaders, talked about the problems of trying to keep the state’s economy moving when its transportation system isn’t keeping […]

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Ray ScottRay ScottOctober 20, 20176min7790

The Environmental Protection Agency has published official notice of plans to withdraw the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP). States will no longer be required to meet the specific carbon emission goals mandated by the CPP and will be free to develop their own goals and emission standards for power plants.


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Adam McCoyAdam McCoyOctober 13, 20172min3970

Sending a “strong signal that innovative and sustained climate leadership is a priority in Colorado,” the state and a climate change action advocacy group will co-host a series of forums this winter focusing on climate preparedness and clean energy development.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, dozens of elected state and local officials and business leaders will take part in the Colorado Communities Symposium — a series of plenary sessions, training events and roundtable discussions, workshops, networking events and an awards dinner — held Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 in Aurora.

“Communities across Colorado, from Durango to Wray, are proving that the clean energy transition can benefit every Coloradan,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said in a press statement Wednesday. “Through this symposium, the state will support locally-led climate and sustainability efforts by providing a forum for local government officials to build capacity and share best practices for with each other.”

The conference’s agenda will be steered by a committee headed by former Gov. Bill Ritter and Colorado State University’s Brad Udall among other state leaders.

The forum will piggyback on Hickenlooper’s climate executive order announced over the summer which promised Colorado would join the U.S. Climate Alliance and would meet its climate goals despite the White House’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords. The executive order signed by Hickenlooper sets a goal of reducing statewide greenhouse gas emissions from 2012 levels by 26 percent by 2025 and by 35 percent by 2030.

“It is critical that state and local governments come together, align efforts and substantially scale up their capacity to drive successful climate change strategies if we want to ensure security and continued prosperity for our businesses and communities,” said Daniel Kreeger, executive director of the Association of Climate Change Officers. “We are honored to partner with Governor Hickenlooper’s administration and Colorado local government leaders to administer this vital forum.”


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Kelly SloanKelly SloanOctober 5, 20176min2480

The failure of the Graham-Cassidy health care bill may have signaled the termination of the GOP’s anemic efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, at least in one fell partisan swoop (much like the ACA itself was introduced); but it didn’t, of course, terminate the problems generated by the enormous law it sought to partially dismantle. Nor did its demise solve the riddle of how to reconcile retention of Obamacare’s more popular elements – chiefly its treatment, however sloppily, of the pre-existing conditions question – with fiscally prudent reforms.