Governor Hickenlooper made it clear – in the current landscape where a federal change to Obamacare seems more likely than ever – he would push back and ask for the specifics of a “replacement plan” within the narrative of “repeal and replace.” He, however, declined to mention or defend Connect for Health Colorado, Colorado’s Obamacare exchange, in light of the most recent report from the Health and Human Services’ Inspector General calling for the exchange to refund the federal government almost $10 million dollars in misspent grants.
Hickenlooper declining to defend the exchange is notable, as it comes on the heels of an opening speech yesterday from Senate President Kevin Grantham calling for Colorado to repeal the state exchange altogether. Those who currently use the exchange would be funneled to the national system that is used by many other states.
The overarching theme of today’s speech struck an odd but telling “state’s rights” tone. Many of the Governor’s initial comments regarding the states as the “laboratories” of ideas were woven into the entire text of the speech. This marks a new tone form the Governor on the state’s relationship with the federal government and tenth amendment issues.
“One has to wonder if Hickenlooper would be crowing about “state’s rights” issues if Hillary Clinton had won the Presidential election,” said Kelly Maher, executive director of Compass Colorado. “If he is truly committed to bipartisanship, he would not already be setting the tone for an adversarial relationship before the new President is even sworn into office.”