DENVER - Senators are off this week, at home for the Fourth of July holiday, meaning Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper doesn't have to go Washington, D.C. like he did last week, to get the attention of Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner.
So, what was that trip about anyway? Next's Marshall Zelinger went to speak with the governor Monday about the trip, and his take on Colorado's role in healthcare:
MZ: You were in Washington, D.C. last week. On Monday, you were at the Western Governor's Association in Montana, Wednesday you had to be in Aspen, why did you go to Washington, D.C.?
JH: It was the one day that would work for Governor John Kasich and myself to both be able to get into our schedules to go -- the National Press Club wanted to have a press event around having a Republican Governor and a Democratic Governor who are both opposed to the Senate version of the new health care bill and I still believe, I think it's important to have a bipartisan solution.
MZ: What's so wrong with the state picking up what the feds won't?
JH: A, it would be a large chunk, it would not be a small chunk, so we're talking like a billion dollars a year is the number I see, and that puts us into difficult decisions. It really does begin to get into life or death decisions. We're TABOR, so we would have to go to a vote of the people, either that or we would have to take all the money out of higher education, take a bunch of money out of corrections, and a bunch of money out of K-12 education, to make up that billion dollars. Our general fund budget, that's almost 10 percent of our general fund budget.
MZ: It becomes a conversation about who should be on Medicaid, so who should be on Medicaid?
JH: "Most of the people that were added on were young people or people with disabilities. Older people that were one way or another incapacitated. Those are hard people to take off ... Again, I understand we can't continue to have increasing health care costs, I just don't think we want to roll back coverage because you really do put some people at risk of dramatically less productive lives and more pain and in some cases, I don't know how many there are, in some cases death.
Our conversation with the governor continues Tuesday. We asked how the public will know he's running for President, even if he doesn't come right out and say it.
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