State of Colorado Archives: on Health Care

Donna Lynne: Health care a right, not a privilege

The ACA has been a success in Colorado where we have cut in half the number of people who didn't have health coverage with more than half a million more Coloradans getting coverage they didn't have before. But more must be done. I've worked on legislation to expand access, increase transparency, and make health care more affordable. I think health care is a right, not a privilege, and I support universal coverage and will fight to make it a reality. .
Source: 2018 Colorado Gubernatorial website Sep 15, 2017

Mike Johnston: Preserve Medicaid expansion

Will fight to preserve the expansion of Medicaid in Colorado which has helped cut the number of uninsured in our state by 50 percent. In 2014 Mike co-sponsored the creation the Colorado Commission on Affordable Health Care in order to improve access and quality of care. Mike put forth legislation that required that health insurers cover maternity care and contraception and prohibited health insurers from considering gender in setting rates
Source: 2018 Colorado Governor website Sep 1, 2017

George Brauchler: Repeal Obamacare; local control of Medicaid

Coloradans deserve access to patient-centered healthcare and affordable premiums. ObamaCare must be repealed to make this happen. Since becoming the law of the land, ObamaCare has driven more and more Coloradans onto our Medicaid rolls. At the same time, it has stifled the state's ability to be innovative and has driven costs up at the expense of other state funding priorities, like education and transportation. We need greater flexibility that gets Washington out of the way and allows our state leaders to craft a Colorado-specific Medicaid plan that is best for Colorado's unique needs.
Source: 2018 Colorado Gubernatorial campaign website Jul 12, 2017

Victor Mitchell: Insurance is not necessary for primary care

We can get Medicaid spending under control Medicaid has increased by more than 40% since the passage of the unaffordable care act. We're not doing anything to bend the cost of access to affordable care. We should come up with ideas and solutions that are different, that don't always involve insurance. Why do we even need insurance for primary care? I plan to repeal the exchange here in Colorado and replace it with a patient centered health care plan.
Source: 2018 Colorado Gubernatorial campaign website Jul 2, 2017

Victor Mitchell: ObamaCare doesn't work for 50% of people today

We hear about the handful of people that are going to lose their insurance under the "Un-Affordable Care Act," but don't talk about the more than 50% of people today, that have insurance, that can't access it like Mark who works for me. He has diabetes. It costs him more than $15,000 a year today to access any service provider between what he has to pay for his co payments his deductibles and his premiums."
Source: 2018 Colorado Gubernatorial campaign website Jul 2, 2017

Victor Mitchell: ObamaCare is not a solution; we need patient-centered care

Mitchell called the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, which provided insurance to thousands of Coloradans, a boondoggle. He would favor block grants to start nurse-practitioner staffed clinics for primary care. "That begs the question of why do you even need insurance for primary care?" he said. "You should be able to go and get high-quality, patient-centered care without insurance, but we're not even thinking about these types of things."
Source: on 2018 Colorado Gubernatorial race Jun 13, 2017

Doug Robinson: Wants congress and Trump to repeal ObamaCare

Robinson said he voted for Donald Trump and applauded his cabinet appointments, even as he said he thinks the president "can do a better job." He expressed disappointment that the Republican-led Congress failed to pass a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Source: Denver Post on 2018 Colorado gubernatorial race Apr 25, 2017

George Brauchler: Medicaid block grants instead of ObamaCare expansion

Brauchler supports the Trump administration's call to change the federal Medicaid insurance program to a block grant -- setting limits on the annual expenditure. He said Colorado's decision to expand Medicaid coverage under the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act has committed the state to open-ended expense. "Those costs are ultimately unsustainable," he said.
Source: Pueblo Chieftain on 2018 Colorado Gubernatorial race Apr 11, 2017

George Brauchler: Increase Medicaid co-pays to change behavior

A $2 copay that gets billed out as a $54 office visit is too little to impact behavior. People who have a runny nose are running off to the doctor, because the cost to them is nothing. Should we have the ability to go to them and say, "We want you to have the ability to have more skin in the game. We want to increase your copay as a means of not only helping us save dollars for those who truly need it, but also to change behavior, so you don't treat this in a way that's more gratuitously used."
Source: on 2018 Colorado Gubernatorial race Apr 7, 2017

George Brauchler: Charge co-pays to low-income residents on Medicaid

When it comes to finding money to invest in schools, Brauchler suggested rising health care costs are crowding out other priorities. He expressed interest to charging co-pays to low-income residents on Medicaid, as well as looking at reducing eligibility limits, which could leave some uninsured.
Source: Denver Post on 2018 Colorado gubernatorial race Apr 5, 2017

Victor Mitchell: Promote patient-centered health care

His top issues include lowering the cost of college, promoting patient-centered health care and helping "people earn more money."

A former House GOP colleague called Mitchell "an independent thinker" who "didn't let party get in the way of getting some things done."

Source: Denver Post on 2018 Colorado Gubernatorial race Feb 13, 2017

John Hickenlooper: Basic health care is a right, not a privilege

Our prosperity doesn't amount to a hill of beans if Coloradans can't afford health insurance. Since 2011 we've helped over 600,000 people get basic health insurance, and 94% of Coloradans now have coverage. We believe that basic health care is a right, not a privilege.

We all save money when people stay healthy or get treatment in doctor's offices instead of emergency rooms. We're emphasizing preventive care and giving people the tools to manage their diseases.

Source: 2017 State of the State address to Colorado Legislature Jan 12, 2017

Darryl Glenn: ObamaCare is entitlement program that we cannot afford

Q: What would a health care system look like that would cover all citizens?

Darryl Glenn: ObamaCare is the latest example of a government entitlement program that neither the federal government nor individual citizens can afford and Colorado has been particularly hard hit. Premiums have skyrocketed, and the state-run co-op, Colorado HealthOP, has shut down due to insolvency. This is unsustainable and unaffordable. The solution is clear: we must repeal and replace ObamaCare in favor of a more affordable and practical approach for families. My plan would be to free people of the unconstitutional burden of being mandated to purchase increasingly costly insurance or face a financial punishment from the government. ObamaCare must be replaced with a more commonsense approach to healthcare that includes tort reform, permitting insurance to be purchased across state lines, and improving public health to decrease the demand for medical care.

Source: LWV's on 2016 Colorado Senate Race Sep 19, 2016

Michael Bennet: Help seniors on Medicare; speed up drug approval

Q: What would a health care system look like that would cover all citizens?

Michael Bennet: The first thing we need to address is the cost of care. I have a bipartisan bill that would help seniors on Medicare get to their appointments, get the medicine they need, focus on preventative care and coordinate their care between doctors and facilities. 15% of Medicare recipients account for $300 billion in Medicare spending. We could cut billions off that without affecting benefits. I've also cosponsored the Health Care Premium Reduction Act, which will help states fight big premium increases. We also need to do more to ensure people have access to lifesaving drugs they need. One of my proudest legislative accomplishments was working with Republicans to cut through red tape and speed up the approval process for potentially life-saving treatments and drugs. And we need to take serious steps towards transparency across the health care sector--drugs, hospitals, and insurance companies.

Source: LWV's on 2016 Colorado Senate Race Sep 19, 2016

Darryl Glenn: ObamaCare has made health insurance much more expensive

Q: Do you believe the Affordable Care Act has made health insurance more accessible and affordable?

A: ObamaCare has made health insurance much more expensive for Coloradans across the state. And in many cases, people who now have insurance either can't afford their doctor visit, or can't find a doctor willing to accept their government-mandated insurance. In fact, Senator Bennet wanted to go even further than ObamaCare and institute a public option. But now that it's an election year, he comes back to Colorado and says he opposes Colorado's single payer healthcare initiative. Senator Bennet recently admitted that ObamaCare has been devastating for Coloradans--some of whom will see their premiums go up by almost 30% in the coming year alone.

Q: How would you approach reforming the Affordable Care Act?

A: We need to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with innovative, free-market solutions that focus on healthcare outcomes and the doctor-patient relationship.

Source: Denver Post Voter Guide on 2016 Colorado Senate race Jun 7, 2016

Darryl Glenn: Repeal & Replace ObamaCare, and Restore out freedoms

One of the largest impediments to your American Dream is the Affordable Care Act. We must do two things with regard to this arduous law. First, we must Repeal it. Second, we must Replace it. By doing these two things we will Restore our freedoms and your American Dream.

First, we must Repeal the Affordable Care Act! We have to restore our individual freedoms because they are the bedrock of our nation. We cannot allow the government to mandate health care coverage on its free people. That is against our founding principles. This law has weighed down many and helped very few. Our citizens deserve the right and freedom to make their own choices about their health care from the type of policy to the level of care. These should be their choices, not the government's mandate.

My vision for this great nation is to restore our freedom and allow individuals the opportunity to determine their own future.

Source: 2016 Colorado Senate campaign website Apr 14, 2016

Darryl Glenn: Tort reform; catastrophic coverage; wellness programs

Source: 2016 Colorado Senate campaign website Apr 14, 2016

Peg Littleton: ObamaCare makes healthcare less accessible & more expensive

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. ObamaCare, is making health care less accessible and more expensive. Sen. Michael Bennet has ranked among the most enthusiastic supporters of this ill-conceived health care plan.

I will fight for genuinely affordable access to health care in Colorado & throughout the country. The key to affordable health care is supply. More doctors, nurses, hospitals and clinics will result in more access and lower prices. In the Senate, I will support policies that encourage investment in medical facilities, medical research and restore the desire among our best and brightest young people to pursue medical careers.

I will also fight for legislation that will allow the imposition of market forces in the medical marketplace. If consumers are allowed to shop for better medical bargains, prices will come down.

We must devise a system that protects the interests and choices of patients by putting them in control of health care and insurance markets.

Source: 2016 Colorado Senate campaign website Feb 3, 2016

Cory Gardner: Ebola: immediate ban on all travel from West African

The candidates were asked how they would evaluate the federal response to the Ebola crisis. "We ought to listen to the health-care professionals," Sen. Udall said. "If they believe we ought to close our borders, we ought to restrict flights to and from West Africa. Let's listen to them. But senators and congressmen shouldn't be making those decisions. We should be supporting the resources that are necessary to meet the Ebola challenge."

Gardner called for an immediate traffic ban on all travel from West African countries where the Ebola virus is spreading. "If the president's not willing to put into a place a travel ban, then we should have 100% screening of the people who are coming from those affected areas," Gardner said.

The two tangled over cuts to the Center for Disease Control, with Udall saying the congressman cut funds that would have helped the agency and Gardner saying he opposed tax dollars going to programs such as Jazzercise.

Source: Denver Post on 2014 Colorado Senate debate Oct 15, 2014

Amy Stephens: AmyCare was lesser of 2 evils to exempt state from ObamaCare

Buck passed on a chance to attack Stephens for her support of the state's health exchange, which conservative critics link to the Affordable Care Act derisively as "AmyCare." On a question about the state's alternative to ObamaCare sponsored by Stephens in 2011, Buck rose to Stephens' defense, though he disagreed with her position. "If you look at Amy's career, you will see the career of a person who has stood up for Republican values time and time again," he said. "There are people in the Republican Party focused on one issue, and they shouldn't be, for any of us up here."

Stephens called the state-run health exchange "the lesser of two evils" to exempt the state from ObamaCare, and that she supports government closer to home. "When you see a tsunami coming, you have to make a decision," she said, adding she would vote to repeal ObamaCare.

Source: Denver Post on 2014 Colorado Senate debate Feb 26, 2014

Cory Gardner: ObamaCare has led to 335,000 cancellations in Colorado

In recent months, Gardner, like most Colorado conservatives, has assailed Udall for his support of the Affordable Care Act.

Udall's office was recently involved in a dispute over health insurance policy cancellations in Colorado and Gardner called on the state's division of insurance to provide his office with updated cancellation figures.

The updated numbers found that as of mid-January about 335,000 Coloradans had received cancellation notices, though about 92 percent were offered renewal options.

"It's stunning that ObamaCare has led to this many canceled plans, and now it's coming to the forefront," Gardner said, at the time.

Source: Denver Post on 2014 Colorado Senate race Feb 26, 2014

Mark Udall: AdWatch: Targeted by RNC robocalls for support of ObamaCare

Sen. Mark Udall is among 11 Democrats targeted by the Republican National Committee for their support of ObamaCare. The RNC is using robocalls and posting on Facebook to urge people to call their representatives and ask "why they supported President Obama's lie that people could keep their healthcare plans under ObamaCare."

The targets besides Udall are Reps. Gary Peters (MI) and Bruce Braley (IA), Sens. Mark Warner (VA), Mark Begich (AK), Dick Durbin (IL), Kay Hagan (NC), Mary Landrieu (LA), Jeff Merkley (OR), Mark Pryor (AR), and Jeanne Shaheen (NH). The robocall script reads:

"President Obama and the Democrats said you could keep your healthcare plan under ObamaCare. Now we know [SENATOR] actually VOTED to make it more difficult. Call [SENATOR] at (XXX)-XXX-XXX & ask why [he/she] lied."

The robocalls are a response to Democrats launching the "GOP Shutdown Watch" campaign, highlighting Republican senate candidates who supported the partial federal government shutdown.

Source: MI Daily Tribune PacWatch: 2014 Colorado Senate debate Nov 5, 2013

John Hickenlooper: Current health costs restrain job growth & hurt families

The goal of health care policy is to ensure access to health care, while reducing costs, and without sacrificing quality or patient safety. We have a unique opportunity to become a healthier state while at the same time reducing costs & increasing job opportunities. The explosive increases in medical costs have put a strain on Colorado families, businesses and the state budget. In 2008, health insurance premiums represented nearly 22% of median family income. In the past decade, costs grew at twice th rate of the average increase in wages; at this rate, the cost of family insurance will reach $27,000 or more in the next decade. This restrains job growth, reduces the discretionary incomes of our families and makes it increasingly challenging for our state to adequately fund other critical services. It also means that hundreds of thousands of Colorado families and children are unable to afford basic health services.
Source: 2010 Gubernatorial campaign site Nov 2, 2010

Michael Bennet: I back fiscally sound measures, including Medicare cuts

When the debate turned to the economy, Buck accused Bennet of overspending in Washington but coming home to Colorado and talking up the need to cut the national deficit. Buck pointed out that the debt has risen $3 trillion since Bennet was appointed to the job last year. "He refuses to take responsibility for that $3 trillion dollars in debt," Bennet said. "He's been in Washington, D.C., and he hasn't done anything to clean it up."

Bennet fired back, "Quite the contrary." He said that he has backed fiscally sound measures, including the health care overhaul. Bennet described Medicare cuts included in that new law as "the heart" of the plan.

Source: CBS-4-Denver coverage of 2010 Colorado Senate debate Oct 24, 2010

Ken Buck: $500B savings in Medicare is heart of health care reform

Buck offered Bennet an olive branch of sorts, saying Bennet knew what it was like to be a target of distortions. "Republicans did it to you during the health care debate when they said you wanted to cut $500 billion out of Medicare," Buck offered. "It wa wrong of the Republicans then and it's wrong of you to do it now."

Bennet said he too wanted to change the new Democratic health legislation, but not its essentials. "I'm not going to repeal it because people with pre-existing conditions will again be denied health care coverage," he said.

Buck insisted he would repeal it--getting a cheer from supporters. Buck said the law was produced by a "corrupt" process, especially the special concessions granted Nebraska and Louisiana senators to win their votes. "And I don't believe in centralizing the authority in the American government over one-seventh of our economy," he said, calling it the "nationalization" of U.S. health care.

Source: Pueblo Chieftan coverage of 2010 Colorado Senate Debate Oct 8, 2010

Michael Bennet: $500B savings in Medicare is heart of health care reform

Buck offered Bennet an olive branch of sorts, saying Bennet knew what it was like to be a target of distortions. "Republicans did it to you during the health care debate when they said you wanted to cut $500 billion out of Medicare," Buck offered. "It wa wrong of the Republicans then and it's wrong of you to do it now."

Bennet was pleased to hear it. "I hope you'll call your friends who are pushing an ad accusing me of cutting $500 billion out of Medicare," he told Buck. "That $500 billion savings in Medicare is the very heart of the health care reform bill."

Bennet said he too wanted to change the new Democratic health legislation, but not its essentials. "I'm not going to repeal it because people with pre-existing conditions will again be denied health care coverage," he said.

Buck insisted he would repeal it--getting a cheer from supporters. Buck said the law was produced by a "corrupt" process, especially the special concessions granted Nebraska and Louisiana senators to win their votes.

Source: Pueblo Chieftan coverage of 2010 Colorado Senate Debate Oct 8, 2010

Ken Buck: Government-run system infringes freedom & rations care

The Obama administration & Democrats in Congress have put the US on course to a government-run healthcare system that infringes on personal freedom, violates states' rights, will ration medical care and could potentially bankrupt our country.

We can do better. Congress needs to repeal Obamacare and enact free-market reforms that will preserve our freedom and drive down costs. Federal policy should encourage individuals to buy high-deductible policies and to establish health savings accounts.

Source: 2010 Senate campaign website,, "Issues" Aug 10, 2010

Jane Norton: Competition is key to lower costs and increased access

Source: 2010 Senate campaign website, Dec 25, 2009

Michael Bennet: Committee membership: Health, Education, Labor & Pensions

Michael has not wasted any time. Just months after arriving in the Senate he has been awarded Sen. Ted Kennedy's seat on the prestigious Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Michael's seat on the HELP committee combined with his other committee positions on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; and the Special Committee on Aging will enable him, on behalf of Colorado, to continue to confront the country's challenges head-on.
Source: 2010 Senate campaign website,, "About" Dec 25, 2009

Cary Kennedy: Increase tobacco tax and invest it in cancer research

The benefits of Cary Kennedy's passion, hard work and creativity are felt every day by Coloradans throughout the state:
Source: 2006 Colorado campaign website Nov 4, 2006

Ken Salazar: Take next steps toward universal coverage

As your United States Senator, my priorities will be to look at innovative ways to reduce health care costs, make health insurance more affordable, provide health care to the uninsured, lower prescription drug costs, and tackle the unique health care challenges of rural Colorado and elsewhere.
Source: 2004 Senate campaign website, Aug 11, 2004

Ken Salazar: Medicare Rx bill was a mistake; need innovations

My priority will be to look at innovative ways to reduce health care costs. I support allowing lower cost drug imports from Canada, and we should give the federal government the power to bargain for lower prescription drug prices. It was a mistake to add prescription drug coverage to Medicare but not allow Medicare to use the bargaining power of its millions of beneficiaries to get the lowest possible prices. I am committed to looking at all possible ways to lower health care costs.
Source: 2004 Senate campaign website, Mar 10, 2004

Tom Strickland: Control prescription drug prices

Strickland will work in the Senate to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries can buy their drugs from their pharmacies at the same average foreign price that consumers pay for drugs sold in other developed countries, including Canada. This measure would lower the cost of prescription drugs by nearly 40 percent without raising taxes or creating any federal bureaucracy.
Source:, “Issues: Prescription Drugs” Sep 25, 2002

Tom Strickland: Add prescription benefit in Medicare

    Tom recently unveiled his plan to address the high costs of prescription drugs by addressing the problem in three significant ways. Tom’s plan would:
  1. add a prescription drug benefit to Medicare
  2. require drug companies to sell their medications to American Seniors at the average foreign price those drugs are sold for in other countries; and

  3. bring more competition to the prescription drug market by speeding the introduction of generic drugs.
The plan includes catastrophic coverage so seniors with the highest drug costs for conditions like cancer or diabetes would have all their costs paid after $4000.
Source:, “Issues: Prescription Drugs” Sep 25, 2002

  • The above quotations are from State of Colorado Politicians: Archives.
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  • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
2016 Presidential contenders on Health Care:
Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
Dr.Ben Carson(MD)
Gov.Chris Christie(NJ)
Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
Carly Fiorina(CA)
Gov.Jim Gilmore(VA)
Sen.Lindsey Graham(SC)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
Gov.John Kasich(OH)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Gov.George Pataki(NY)
Sen.Rand Paul(KY)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Sen.Rob Portman(OH)
Sen.Marco Rubio(FL)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
Donald Trump(NY)
Gov.Scott Walker(WI)
Gov.Lincoln Chafee(RI)
Secy.Hillary Clinton(NY)
V.P.Joe Biden(DE)
Gov.Martin O`Malley(MD)
Sen.Bernie Sanders(VT)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren(MA)
Sen.Jim Webb(VA)

2016 Third Party Candidates:
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Roseanne Barr(PF-HI)
Robert Steele(L-NY)
Dr.Jill Stein(G,MA)
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Page last updated: Feb 12, 2018