John Hickenlooper on Health Care

Democratic Presidential Challenger (withdrew, Aug. 2019); CO Governor


COVID: Need capacity test or vaccinate every American

Q: COVID-19: Support administration's response to coronavirus pandemic?

John Hickenlooper: No. "Only way to regain our confidence and restart our economy is having the capacity to either test or vaccinate every American."

Corey Gardner: Yes. "HHS, through a number of its agencies, is actively leading critical prevention, containment, and supply-chain stability."

Source: CampusElect on 2020 Colorado Senate race , Oct 10, 2020

COVID: Trump ignored the risk, that was negligent

In his opening statement, Hickenlooper took aim at Trump. Hickenlooper offered prayers for the president, who was hospitalized with COVID-19 hours before the debate. But he criticized Trump's response to the pandemic. "He ignored the risk. That was negligent," Hickenlooper said. "We're in a crisis and the stakes couldn't be higher.
Source: KUNC-BBC radio on 2020 Colorado Senate debate , Oct 2, 2020

We need to get to universal coverage, won't break the bank

The candidates also offered differing views on health care, with Hickenlooper defending the Affordable Care Act. Gardner said Hickenlooper wants "government-run health care." "You know what's the cruelest lie of all, it's that Cory Gardner says he has a plan to protect people with pre-existing conditions," Hickenlooper said. "We need to get to universal coverage. It's not going to cost a fortune. It's not going to break the bank."
Source: KUNC-BBC radio on 2020 Colorado Senate debate , Oct 2, 2020

ACA led to successful state marketplace & Medicaid expansion

Hickenlooper touted the success of Colorado's insurance marketplace, created by Obamacare, and adding 400,000 people to Medicaid. He said Republicans are trying to take away protections for people. He wants a sliding scale public option and extend coverage to all Americans by demanding bulk discounts on drugs for Medicare, which the government doesn't get now. "We roll it out and everyone in this country has coverage, just like they do in every other industrialized country," Hickenlooper said.
Source: ColoradoPolitics.com on 2020 Colorado Senate debate , Oct 2, 2020

Allow Medicare to negotiate with drug companies

Q: Your Medicare policy?

A: Everyone deserves access to high quality health care. The program covers nearly all older Americans who earned this coverage through a lifetime of hard work. To help lower costs, I support allowing Medicare to negotiate with drug companies to get a better deal. It's astounding that they're currently not allowed to do so, and I'd work to change that on day one in the Senate.

Source: AARP Survey on 2020 Colorado Senate race , Sep 30, 2020

Investigate anticompetitive practices by drug companies

Q: Your prescription drug policy?

A: I will fight to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. Medicare should be able to negotiate prices directly with drug companies. Congress should explore the possibility of importing safe medicine from Canada. We can pass legislation requiring more transparency in drug pricing and curtailing significant increases in the price of both generic and specialty drugs. Congress should investigate potential anticompetitive practices in the pharmaceutical industry.

Source: AARP Survey on 2020 Colorado Senate race , Sep 30, 2020

I will always stand up for Medicaid

Q: Your Medicaid policy?

A: I support strengthening programs that help seniors stay in their homes. By approving transportation options and controlling housing and health care costs, we can help more people live life on their own terms. We need to strengthen protections for seniors in long-term health care facilities as well. Not only that, but many seniors depend on Medicaid for long-term care. I will always stand up for Medicaid and every person's right to access quality and affordable care.

Source: AARP Survey on 2020 Colorado Senate race , Sep 30, 2020

Public option ok; evolution, not revolution

Q: Do you lack the will to fight for Medicare for All, as Senator Warren suggested?

HICKENLOOPER: It comes down to that question of Americans being used to being able to make choices. Proposing a public option that allows some form of Medicare that maybe is a combination of Medicare Advantage and Medicare, but if enough people choose it, it expands, the quality improves, the cost comes down, eventually, in 15 years, you could get there, but it would be an evolution, not a revolution.

Source: July Democratic Primary debate (first night in Detroit) , Jul 30, 2019

Implemented ObamaCare and expanded Medicaid in Colorado

Created an Affordable Care Act exchange for Colorado and opted to expand Medicaid.
Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020" , Mar 26, 2019

Opposed Colorado publicly-financed healthcare

Said he supports single-payer health care, advocating for the general idea rather than hastily hashing out a specific policy. He opposed a ballot measure to bring a publicly-financed health care system to Colorado.
Source: Axios.com "What you need to know about 2020" , Mar 26, 2019

Against single payer; supports public option

We're at almost universal coverage in Colorado. We're about 95 percent coverage. And we did that by expanding Medicaid, by creating one of the most innovate and successful health care exchanges in the country.

I don't agree with the single-payer approach. I understand that we need a public option. Health care should be a right, not a privilege.

I want to support any way we can get to universal coverage. That should be our first and primary goal. But I also recognize that there are north of 150 million people that have insurance through your place of business. I am more focused on how we make sure that we get to universal coverage, but at the same time, maintain and improve quality and controlling costs.

Source: CNN Town Hall: 2020 presidential hopefuls , Mar 20, 2019

ObamaCare not perfect; it has helped but needs improvement

We need our friends in Washington to finally move past the tired fight over the Affordable Care Act. It's not perfect, and we need to strengthen it in lots of ways--but it has helped reduce our uninsured rate by half. 600,000 Coloradans--many from rural parts of the state--now have coverage who didn't before. It has helped save lives. When we're secure in our health care, we're more likely to take a chance and start a business.
Source: 2018 State of the State address to the Colorado legislature , Jan 11, 2018

Stabilize private markets & deal with high-cost pools

Q: [to Kasich & Hickenlooper together]: The 2 of you have joined together in an effort to try to fix the health care problem that Congress has not been able to fix. Is this a problem of people not finding the right plans, or is this a political problem?

HICKENLOOPER: I think it's more a political problem. And what Gov. Kasich and I have been talking about, is, how do we stabilize the private markets? How do we deal with these high-cost pools? There's some basic remedial steps that can improve our health care without having to throw everything out the window.

Q: One of the ways usually that you build a bipartisan agreement is, both sides give up a little. In Washington both sides don't want to give up much of anything.

Gov. John KASICH (D-OH): Yes. Democrats are going to have to say, "let the market work, give people more choice, bring down the cost of health insurance." And Republicans are going to have to admit that there's a group of people out there who are going to need help.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2017 interviews of 2020 hopefuls , Aug 6, 2017

Too soon to make changes in Obamacare

[Some Democrats oppose single-payer plans]. Nancy Pelosi recently told frustrated town hall attendees that "if you want to move to single payer, what you should do is support state options," referring to state-level campaigns for single payer.

Democratic governor John Hickenlooper said that "it would be premature to dramatically remake our health-care system at this time" while existing reforms were "just beginning to bear fruit." He complained behind closed doors to a powerful lobby of business leaders and political operatives that the "cost [is] going to be huge."

As California considered instituting a state-wide single-payer system on the eve of a possible GOP repeal of Obamacare, the state's Democratic governor Jerry Brown rubbished the idea, asking: "Where do you get the extra money? How do you do that?" He compared it to solving a problem "by something that's a bigger problem," which "makes no sense."

Source: Jacobin Magazine, "Single Payer," on 2020 Democratic primary , Mar 29, 2017

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

2012: Make healthcare both affordable and accessible

In the [state-of-the-state] speech, we eased into one of the more challenging items or us to get through the legislature. The previous year, we had created the Colorado Health Insurance Marketplace; now, with Congress utterly gridlocked in a feud over ObamaCare, we needed funding for it. The legislators had an idea this was coming, and I conveyed as much when I said that making Colorado the best place for entrepreneurship also meant we must have "health care that is both affordable and accessible."
Source: 2012 State of the State, in "The Opposite of Woe," p.283 , May 24, 2016

Not acceptable for 2,500 kids to lose CHP health coverage

The focus will be to implement a change that supports the goal of ensuring that kids have access to coverage. The fees required by SB11-213 represent a 1000% increase in the cost of the current CHP+ program to enrollees in the 205% of federal poverty level. Approximately 2,500 kids would drop off the program because of the dramatic increase in cost. Research from across the country and in Colorado indicates that if children drop off the CHP+ program, they would likely become uninsured.
Source: 2011 gubernatorial press release #1251593304636 , May 31, 2011

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 hickenlooperforcolorado.com , Nov 2, 2010

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