Brophy: families should cut cigs, air conditioning, and lotto to pay for health care

(Another “stay classy” moment – promoted by Colorado Pols)



Colorado State Sen. Greg Brophy had a long cozy chat with KOA’s Mike Rosen yesterday.

Agreement flowed everywhere, even on the issue of dealing with the budget deficit by potentially taking health care away from Colorado kids in poverty.

Brophy told Rosen that co-pays and premiums will likely be required for kids who now get free care in Colorado.

Rosen asked if this meant poor kids would go untreated.

Brophy didn’t answer the question, and instead said:

Well, that’s what the opponents of charging people will say, but I think when you look at it what we’re doing as a matter of public policy is we are allowing people who have their kids on Medicaid to spend their money on other things. For instance, the average Medicaid recipient is four times more likely to smoke than the average Coloradoan. So we’re paying for their kids’ health care, and they’re buying cigarettes instead. And I think if you look at the statistics, you’ll see that they are also much more likely to play the lottery. So instead of paying for their kids’ health care, they are playing in the lottery and buying cigarettes. Oh, and by the way, most of them have air conditioning. So instead of paying for their kids’ health care, they are paying for their air conditioning bills, and it goes on and on and on. I think they should put a little bit of skin in the game.



I thought I could see Rosen nodding, but then I realized I was listening to him on the radio, and I couldn’t see him.

So, all I know for sure was that Rosen was silent, and didn’t ask for evidence that children would, in fact, not get treated if Colorado began charging their parents.

He didn’t question Brophy’s sources or assumptions.

Perhaps a more inquisitive questioner will take up the mantle.

At 18:00 minutes during hour 3


Brophy: We have grown the number of people getting free health care in Colorado. We’re up to 550,000 kids on Medicaid or SCHIP in Colorado, and they pay effectively nothing for their health care. And I don’t think that’s right. Everybody should have a little skin in this game, and I think what we’re going to end up doing, then, is seeking real copays and maybe even a little bit of a premium payment out of people who are on Medicaid or SCHIP.

Rosen: …Does that mean that poor kids are going to go untreated?

Brophy: Well, that’s what the opponents of charging people will say, but I think when you look at it what we’re doing as a matter of public policy is we are allowing people who have their kids on Medicaid to spend their money on other things. For instance, the average Medicaid recipient is four times more likely to smoke than the average Coloradoan. So we’re paying for their kids’ health care, and they’re buying cigarettes instead. And I think if you look at the statistics, you’ll see that they are also much more likely to play the lottery. So instead of paying for their kids’ health care, they are playing in the lottery and buying cigarettes. Oh, and by the way, most of them have air conditioning. So instead of paying for their kids’ health care, they are paying for their air conditioning bills, and it goes on and on and on. I think they should put a little bit of skin in the game.

60 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. droll says:

    I was going to write this diary. There were so many ways to go with it, where would you start?

    Let’s assume, because I’m in a hurry, that Brophy is absolutely right. Cigs and lotto before kids (sadly, I know this to be true in a few cases). A pack of day ($4 at the counter after taxes) + a lotto ticket a day (average of a dollar since we’re doing it EVERY day) = $1,825. Per year. Let’s say we’re talking about a family with three children. Catastrophic insurance for a healthy person usually costs around $100 a month. Ignoring that the government program is considerably more than that, it’s still going to cost $3,600 per year. 1,825 is more than 3,600, right?

    If people want to make shit up, fine, but could we be a little reasonable with it? Just an itsy bitsy bit? Please?

  2. Mark G. says:

    There was a recent report that concluded the welfare checks given to Colorado residents in the form of electronic debit cards, were being used at vacation spots such as Vegas.

    I believe in food stamps and disability but these programs are abused by 25% or more. 25% of participants are undeserving.

    There’s your budget problem.

  3. Gray in Mountains says:

    it ignores that most poverty stricken folks DON’T engage in the behaviors he discusses and MOST of those who smoke are smoking the off brand cigs which I presume are cheaper. Those that I know are frequently self rollers.

  4. The realistThe realist says:

    co-pays that would be affordable to the poor, and would not cost more to administer than the dollars brought in — his comments might have seemed reasonable.  But with his added statements about cigs, the lottery, and air conditioning he paints a negative picture of the poor, to reduce the listeners’ empathy for them.  And air conditioning??  I don’t believe I’ve had air conditioning in a home my entire life.  Maybe Sen Brophy would like to tell us more about the evils of air conditioning for the poor.

  5. Diogenesdemar says:

    or maybe provide a linky.  This smells like a pile of made up Huckacrap.  And, even if this isn’t completely unadulterated MSU, it’s a long way from “x times more likely than average” to being able for everyone, or even anyone, to be able to pay for y.

    Why is it that the average Republican legislator is nearly 18 times more likely to develop mathematical dementia as a result of having some bug up their ass?

  6. Mark G. says:

    Reminds me of the guy who owns 10 rental properties. On paper they all generate loss however every month he collects cash rent from tenants and government welfare from the State and Feds. He is oh so broke, yet he will retire with 10 properties to his name.

    Then there are the 2 guys in my neighborhood; they are both collecting permanent disability. These 2 clowns shovel walks when it snows and take away trash cash when they are left on the curb for more than few minutes.

    They are far from disabled and they seriously need to get off welfare and get a job.

    I doubt bureaucrats do much to stop this illegal activity because these fraudsters are their relatives and friends.

    • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

      Welfare goes almost exclusively to single moms. And for limited time periods. There’s no “guy” anywhere in the U.S. living permanently on welfare. You’re making shit up.

    • I’m sure the welfare agency will be happy to know that there’s a guy out there who owns 10 properties and is collecting rent on them but still collecting welfare…

      Or perhaps it only “reminds” of someone like that because you don’t actually “know” someone like that.

    • cunninjo says:

      First, the term ‘welfare’ can mean many things. Are we talking about SCHIP? TANF? food stamps?

      SCHIP covers medical costs.

      TANF is temporary – 60-month lifetime max (smaller in some states). It also requires the recipient to actively pursue employment – including a minimum number of job applications completed.

      Any person renting out 10 properties would not be able to live on welfare for their whole life. Even if some technicality qualified them for TANF, they would be forced to seek employment or would eventually be taken out of the program.

      And the Federal government takes fraud cases VERY seriously.

      Remember that our current welfare system was primarily designed by conservative Republicans in the 1990s. They made it so difficult to qualify for TANF benefits that only those truly in need are willing to jump through all the hoops to satisfy the exhaustive requirements.

      • WritterWrocks says:

        Would like to visit the discussion on ag subsidies?  Go to http://www.ewg.org and peruse the millionaires on the federal dole.  Don’t even talk to me about cutting benefits to the poor until he addresses this.  The Senators family alone receives hundreds of thousands of dollars from Uncle Sam.

        • ardy39 says:

          If children should be punished for the decisions made by their parents, perhaps we could hold farmers responsible for the decisions made by their elected officials?

          From 1995-2009, Yuma County benefited from over $448 million in agricultural subsidies.

          Let’s stop this welfare for the people in Sen. Brophy’s home county. Especially all those with surnames of “Brophy” that have collected hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars in welfare during this time period. Some of them bought extravagant clothing items (like suspenders? oops, I meant these types of suspenders!) using our tax dollars! Some bought ammunition that they used to shoot edible produce (watermelons) for purely entertainment purposes. This wasteful and selfish “fun” resulted in an unknown number of Colorado children going to bed hungry.

          (Thanks for the ewg link, WW.)

  7. Mark G. says:

    When times are tough, I stop spending money on comfort items and indulgences, such as micro beer.

    I choose to spend my limited resources on nutritious foods for my children.

    What kind of parent purchases cigarettes when times are tough.

    I have a new quote.

    “If you do not listen, we cannot teach you. No amount of government can fix your listening disability, this is your choice.”

    • droll says:

      You’re a total troll. Whoops! Our bad.

    • ProgressiveCowgirlProgressiveCowgirl says:

      We’ve been trying to keep this place a little tidier since the election, and it makes it easier to mop if the puddles of troll-drool stay in a single spot. Unless you intend to clean up after yourself, of course.

    • VanDammerVanDammer says:

      MarkG just another PeeplePressCollective crap trolling conspiracist.  Likes to tie up threads by throwing bones to keep other posters busy.  

      Poster over @DailyKos How to treat conservative delusion? perfectly describes the scenario:

      And when I discuss the facts with conservatives in the hopes of having them realize their facts are wrong, the discussion nearly always follows the same pattern:

      conservative: (anti-factual statement)

      me: (factual refutation, with citations)

      conservative: (change of subject, with new anti-factual statement)

      me: (new factual refutation, with citations)

      ….

      conservative: (THE SAME ORIGINAL anti-factual statement, without citations)

      I’m being serious when I say: this is a pattern of thinking that borders on mental illness. Perhaps the only difference is that this way of thinking is mostly chosen, whereas full insanity appears to be more involuntary.

      but maybe that’s what the PPC teaches … how to f*ck up any thread in 3-easy steps (as long as you’re willing to repeatedly play the part of the

      ignorant fool).  Seems GOPCoward, lil’ Chuck Johnson, and other notorious trolls have all adopted the SOP with gusto.  Now adding MarkG to the list …  

    • DaftPunkDaftPunk says:

      An addict, troll.

  8. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    It probably does make sense to have people contribute something. But you will have some that will choose their comforts over health care for their kids. We already have a serious problem with kids not being brought in for regular checkups.

    I think step 1 needs to be figuring out what we want to change. Is medicaid over used, under used, or wrongly used (probably all three in places). Are there people on it that shouldn’t be? Or do we need to change who we target?

    For example, maybe the answer is no medicaid unless the recipients live a healthy lifestyle. That could well reduce the cost per person much more than any other steps.

    But please, first step is exactly what needs to change – and why.

    • The realistThe realist says:

      but not being judgmental about those NOT living in poverty.  Unhealthy lifestyles of the non-poor insured increase costs drastically for ALL of us, but what is being done about that?  The costs of corporate welfare and millions of dollars in cash that disappeared in Iraq (just two of many examples of waste) is far beyond the benefits the poor receive.  Why do we always pick on the poor?!

      Re: Medicaid — a large chunk of that funding goes to the elderly poor in nursing homes who have spent down all their assets and qualify for Medicaid because they have almost nothing left.

  9. dmindgo says:

    This is frustrating.  I think I’ll take a cig break to calm down.  Except that raises my blood pressure.  But thinking about it raises my blood pressure, too.

    vicious circle repeats.

  10. ProgressiveCowgirlProgressiveCowgirl says:

    Doctors. You know, those things that Brophy doesn’t want poor smokers to have access to.

    And you know what helps with a gambling habit? Yeah, that’s right, mental health services… likewise.

    But of course, if elderly and medically frail poor people give up their air conditioning, maybe we can kill a few off with heat stroke in the Colorado summers. That should save some money.

    (For the record, I don’t have air conditioning. I’m young and healthy. Not all Medicaid recipients can handle heat as well.)

  11. MADCO says:

    Is there any problem in American that isn’t their fault?

  12. BlueCat says:

    as if they all do those things in the first place, then he is truly disconnected from the reality of what things cost people who work a hard in lower to middle income jobs, not to mention the laid off. Perhaps he is a decent person.  It could be that this let them eat cake attitude stems not from being a complete A-hole but from massive ignorance. Those, however, are the only two possible choices and neither speaks well of his qualifications for elected office.  

    • gertie97 says:

      of health care, not just a co-pay.

      Just for a year, end all employer-provided health care insurance. Employers could provide a contribution, but everyone in the country would be “treated” to finding, qualifying for and paying individual insurance. State reps, congressmen and pundits would have to comply, too.

      Sticker shock would ensue. Lots of people wouldn’t qualify. High-deductible polices can reduce premiums, but you’re on the hook for every outrageous fee your doctor’s office loads on to a bill.

      I doubt if Brophy would still compare the cost of health care to lottery tickets.

      Just a modest proposal.

      • Make them cover everyone they insure as a single pool, with a single posted set of rates and the same understandable accept/deny standards for everyone.  Force them to evaluate each and every person in employer coverage the same way they evaluate individuals, and have employers forward on the rate structure for their chosen insurer to their employees.

        That, like single payer, is not going to happen until either we get pissed enough or the insurance companies collapse under their own stupidity.

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