UPDATE: AP’s Kristen Wyatt:
Al Maurer, a voter in Stephens’ district working to find a candidate to challenge her in the Republican primary next year, said the law does little to ensure that Colorado won’t be a cog in what he considers an illegal federal health takeover.
“There’s this nice legislative intent at the beginning with flowery language about Colorado solutions. But there’s nothing in the bill to ensure we’ll get that,” Maurer said. He said the health exchange bill inspired him and other conservatives in the Colorado Springs area to start a group called Citizens’ Legislative Action Committee to watchdog Republicans they suspect aren’t staying true to conservative principles.
Maurer said the exchange bill has prompted a search for a conservative challenger to Stephens, the House Republican Leader. Maurer said that search is still under way, but he said Stephens’ right-leaning territory may begrudge her exchange sponsorship, even though the exchange had the backing of business groups…
Yup, that’s right — they’re looking for a “conservative” challenger to Amy Stephens.
As the Pueblo Chieftain’s Patrick Malone reports:
The bill would establish an online insurance marketplace enabling small businesses and individuals to unite and negotiate features of their health coverage as well as premium prices…
The same Tea Party faction that labeled the federal health care overhaul “Obamacare” tagged SB200 “Amycare,” a reference to House Majority Leader Amy Stephens, R-Monument, who carried the legislation along with Sen. Betty Boyd, D-Westminster.
Stephens initially caved to the criticism by getting behind an amendment that would have required the governor to seek a waiver from the federal government to opt out of the federal health reforms.
But a backlash from the business community, which overwhelmingly supported SB200, prompted Stephens to back away from the amendment, which was not attached to the bill in its finished form.
We understand that Majority Leader Amy Stephens will not be present at today’s bill signing, being out of the country on family business–lest any rumors get going about other reasons she might not want any more face time with Senate Bill 200. In the end the bill passed essentially as negotiated by the diverse interests in support, but Stephens won’t be remembered for the constructive parts of her role. She’ll be remembered as the one who almost wrecked the whole effort under ignorant “Tea Party” pressure, and her attempt to scuttle the bill, followed by gracelessly backing away from that attempt, has hurt her credibility on both sides of the aisle.
Now, everyone is waiting for the “grassroots organizations” who coined the term “Amycare,” and have repeatedly threatened recalls and primaries against Republican proponents of SB-200, to figure out what they can do about it. We know what they’d like to do…