Colorado House Republicans

House GOP Newsletter

Monday, March 27, 2017

♦Repeal and replace effort falls short   ♦House GOP Weekly Update   
♦Recent Press   ♦Upcoming Legislation   ♦In the News
♦Member Tweets   ♦Capitol Pictures
Repeal and replace effort falls short

By: House Republican Leader Patrick Neville (R-Colorado Springs) and Senator Tim Neville (R-Littleton)

Among the most promising things about the election of Donald Trump as president, in conjunction with a Republican-controlled Congress, was the long-awaited realization of the repeal of Obamacare - the expensive government takeover of health care that was President Barack Obama's signal "achievement" - which drove up health insurance premiums and deductibles, priced millions out of the health insurance market, cost taxpayers billions of dollars and instituted a Medicaid expansion that will be the fiscal undoing of several states in the nation, including Colorado, if not reversed and accompanied with serious reform.
The failures of Obamacare are clear to most and plentiful. The law was built upon faulty and myopic economic theories that ran headlong into a wall of reality. So repeal - and replacement with a plan based on a more realistic economic model - was not merely fodder for campaign rhetoric but a political and economic necessity, which many of us hoped would come swiftly to fruition once the necessary pieces were in place.
The result - the American Health Care Act - has been disappointing to say the least.
The AHCA failed to meet the basic, initial requirement for replacing Obamacare with an affordable, patient-centered, economically sound approach - that is, to first fully repeal Obamacare.
Unlike efforts passed in previous years by the Republican Congress and vetoed by Obama, the AHCA fell short of doing what is probably the most important single thing the federal government could do to improve health care in America - disestablishing the most economically harmful health care law ever passed in this country.
Rather than tearing down the rotting structure, clearing away the debris and preparing the ground for a more structurally sound framework, the AHCA merely attempted to make "improvements" to a crumbling and unstable foundation. Predictably, the ultimate results will be the same.
The core problem with Obamacare, as with other statist approaches to health care reform, is that it fails to account for the real drivers of escalating health care costs, namely the artificial increase in demand caused by the disconnect between what health care actually costs to provide and what is paid at the point of service. Subsidization of any service increases use of that service, and when the subsidy is insufficient to pay for the delivery, costs rise exponentially elsewhere in the system.
Rather than arresting the real drivers of cost in health care, Obamacare exacerbated them. Sadly, AHCA did little to reverse this.
The slew of misguided insurance regulations that drove up premiums for the roughly 25 million Americans not receiving subsidized or government-provided health care, for instance, remain largely in place under the current proposal. At the same time, new subsidies are being proposed to try to mask the problems caused by the overarching regulations.
Just as troubling, another critical hallmark of Obamacare - the Medicaid expansion - is not being reversed. In fact, states are being given additional incentives to sign even more people up for Medicaid, a foolhardy proposition that will have severe and enduring financial consequences for state governments that buy into the flawed logic of expanding the Medicaid rolls. Nor is there much sign of a commitment to substantive and comprehensive Medicaid reform, an absolute necessity if we as a nation are to be serious about fiscal sustainability.
Needed conservative reforms - those that will make insurance and care more accessible to all by actually reducing health care costs - are either absent or given short-shrift. Real Medicaid reform, elimination of the tax-preferred status for employer-provided plans, health savings accounts, and malpractice insurance reform all need to be more central to the discussion than how to simply make a bad law less bad.   

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Representative Patrick Neville
House GOP Weekly Update

In The News
  • Boulder Prep is one of Colorado’s 238 charter schools and among the oldest. Started nearly 25 years ago, charters are now firmly rooted in the state’s school landscape and, in fact, are growing faster than ever. They have attracted allies among school officials and state lawmakers, who say they spawn innovation and help kids who have left or been abandoned by traditional classrooms. Backers are heartened by the recent appointment of choice supporter Betsy DeVos as the nation’s Education secretary. They say charters have a chance to fully blossom now that they are considered part of the educational mainstream. ("Charter schools in Colorado are growing in number and influence 25 years after they took hold," Denver Post, 03/26/17)

  • A Colorado plan to crack down on homegrown pot is rapidly heading to the governor’s desk after lawmakers changed the bill to give pot patients more leeway. A Senate committee vote 5-0 to set a statewide limit of 12 plants per residential property. That’s down from 99 plants under current law. The bill was changed to give medical marijuana patients and their caregivers up to 24 plants, if they register with the state and with local authorities. Currently, registration is required only if patients have more than 99 plants. ("Colorado crackdown on homegrown pot goes to Hickenlooper's desk," Associated Press, 03/22/17)

  • Just as one bill to study teacher shortages around the state is making its way through the legislature, another one that actually would do something about it was throttled in the cradle this week by its own author, state Rep. Jim Wilson, R-Salida, after he couldn’t get enough support. ("Bill to tackle rural teacher shortage runs into union roadblock,"  Colorado Politics, 03/23/17)

  • Senate Republicans on Monday, March 20, killed a TABOR reform effort by one of their own to allow the state to retain excess revenue when economic times are good. On a party-line vote, the TABOR reform measure died in a Republican-controlled “kill committee,” where legislation deemed unfavorable by the majority party is sent to die. ("TABOR reform bill by maverick Republicans meets demise in GOP committee," Colorado Politics, 03/20/17)

GOP Member Tweets

FY 2017-18 budget package and long bill out today: #coleg #copolitics

Hugh McKean @hmckean

Always interesting to have folks from both sides of the aisle in the same room engaging in "passionate" discussions. #copolitics

Lori @lorisaine

Fmr Sen. Hudak makes a case that female teachers won't be able to figure out how to conceal carry in schools to protect children. #SB5

Capitol Pictures

Representative Kim Ransom (R-Douglas County) and her student shadow, Whitney, an 8th grader in Parker.
Representative Dan Nordberg (R-Colorado Springs) sits in the gallery with representatives from, Pikes Peak CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children who represent abused and neglected children.
Representative Susan Beckman (R-Littleton) meets with students from Littleton Public Schools who visited as part of a legislative day hosted by the Colorado Association of School Boards.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams testifies in support of Republican Leader Patrick Neville's (R-Castle Rock) bill for election signature verification, HB 1088.

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