Colorado senators split on GOP health care bill

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Republicans voted to open debate on an unknown health care bill Tuesday, with Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado opposing it and Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado voting with his party.

Bennet issued this statement:
Bennet: The American people deserve better. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Bennet: The American people deserve better.
It is shameful that Senate Republicans just voted to take up legislation that will affect one-sixth of our economy and harm millions of Americans. Whether Republicans choose to vote for repeal-and-replace or repeal-and-delay, we know both outcomes would be devastating for Colorado families, hospitals, and rural communities. The American people deserve better than this.
Gardner posted this on his website:
Gardner: Status quo is unacceptable. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Gardner: Status quo is unacceptable.
Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) today released the below statement after voting for the motion to proceed to open debate on the Senate floor to find a way to fix our broken healthcare system. Today’s vote was not on a final measure to repeal Obamacare, but to continue to debate and make changes to legislation to repeal Obamacare.

“Under Obamacare, Coloradans have had to pay for double digit premium increases year after year and the 27 percent average increase for premiums on the individual market next year is only more of the same. While 500,000 Coloradans have had their plans cancelled, 145,000 Coloradans were forced to pay a penalty under Obamacare instead of purchasing insurance because their options have become so limited and unaffordable. In every healthcare meeting with Coloradans, we discuss the problems of Obamacare and how the status quo is simply unacceptable.

“I voted to allow debate today because we can no longer subject Coloradans to a failing healthcare system without working toward solutions, and today’s vote will allow that debate to continue. We can now offer amendments in an open setting to fix our nation’s healthcare system and bring relief to the American people.”
It's worth noting that Gardner with join with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for a fundraiser at the home of billionaire Philip Anschutz in Denver next month, so his vote to hang with the GOP isn't at all surprising.

Progress Now Colorado issued this statement on the Senate's action:
After the U.S. Senate advanced the latest attempt to repeal the landmark 2010 Affordable Care Act, which has reduced the rate of uninsured people in Colorado to historic lows and provided essential health benefits to millions of Americans, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, called on Gardner to apologize to the people of Colorado for once again putting politics over our best interests.

“Today, Republicans in Washington have taken the first step to hurt millions of their fellow Americans in the name of tax breaks for the wealthy,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Ian Silverii. “The bill Sen. Cory Gardner voted for today will undo the gains our state has made in covering the uninsured, and endanger health services in rural communities like the small town Gardner hails from. Cory Gardner promised to protect Medicaid patients, but today he broke that promise. Gardner promised to deliver a replacement for Obamacare that was better, but what he voted for today would hurt millions of Americans and thousands of Coloradans—the very same people the Affordable Care Act has helped.”

“The voters of Colorado do not support the repeal of Obamacare,” said Silverii. “Poll after poll shows that the Affordable Care Act is more popular than ever, even as Republicans continue attempting to destroy it. Gardner’s own approval rating has plunged below 30%, driven by dissatisfaction on both sides with his inability to make good on his promises. Gardner’s false claims against the Affordable Care Act have given way to the reality of what repeal would mean for his constituents. No matter what happens next, Gardner has done irreparable damage to his political career. The voters of Colorado will not forget Cory Gardner’s betrayal today.”
Heritage Action for America, a conservative group, said this:
This afternoon, the Senate voted to begin debate on the House-passed American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628). That successful procedural vote allows Senate Republicans to begin debate on their seven-year promise to repeal and ultimately replace Obamacare. Heritage Action released the following statement from chief executive officer Michael A. Needham:

“Obamacare’s failures are on full display as premiums skyrocket, networks narrow and insurers disappear. Today’s vote gives Senate Republicans the opportunity to debate a bill that will begin the process of dismantling Obamacare and restoring some semblance of federalism and freedom into our nation’s health insurance system.

“Throughout the amendment process, Republicans must unite to protect some of the most significant conservative reforms from hostile liberal amendments. Those reforms include the newly revised 1332 waiver process, generational reform of Medicaid and the rollback of the Medicaid expansion enhanced match, and additional consumer freedom provisions.”

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