Gardner speaks about health care reform at conservative summit

Sen. Cory Gardner is protested at the event.

A huge event for political conservatives kicked off in Denver Friday night.

The Western Conservative Summit brings in some of the biggest political names - last year they had candidate Donald Trump.

Colorado Senator Cory Gardner was one of the headline speakers Friday. Gardner is right in the middle of the healthcare debate - in a group of 13 Republicans working on it.

But he hasn't taken a public position on how he intends to vote on the major health care proposals in the Senate of late. 9NEWS has been trying to get specifics from him for weeks - but he hasn't granted us an interview since June 1.

At the summit, however, he did talk about repealing Obamacare — repeating lines of attack that we've heard from him for years.

In his speech, Garner claimed that he's had 400 meetings on health care with different groups. It's true he has been holding meetings — but not town halls where the public or reporters are free to ask him questions.

His points on health care were broad themes without specifics. He did say Republicans need to focus their healthcare efforts on those who need it the most.

"What has happened over the last several years is a government has tried to grow so much that it has created instability in our most important safety net programs and what we have to do is make sure that there are sustainable to protect those that are truly in need," he said at the event.

He said he wanted a health care plan that would give consumers more choices, more options, and more freedom.
While talking about the desire to repeal Obamacare — he did not mention whether he would do that without having a replacement ready.

He also never said how he would have voted on the repeal-and-replace bill that he was tasked with helping to create, either.

He did say that in the coming months, he wanted to turn from healthcare and focus on tax reform and jobs.

Gardner also has a court date coming up next month. He was sent a subpoena today to be in court on August 8.

This is over the five people arrested and cited during a sit in at his Denver office earlier this month. Gardner is listed as the victim on the arrest citations that is why the protesters' attorney says the senator is obligated to be in court.

Inside and outside the summit tonight - protesters wanted to be heard. During Gardner's speech, two protesters were escorted out after having been able to get into the event.

"If he said anything," one protester outside told 9NEWS, "if he just made a stance, OK let's make it separate from health insurance if he just acted like a Coloradoan - which means I'm not scared to say what I stand for. Oh my gosh, that would be a huge jump in status from how I see him."

In that group though - we also found those supporting the plan to simply repeal Obamacare.

Denver police tell us no one was arrested tonight. More protesters are expected outside the summit when it continues Saturday.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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