Looper/Stephens Primary Already Getting Nasty

UPDATE: Majority Leader Amy Stephens fires back today with a lengthy polemical release titled “Marsha’s Mandate is Health Care Hypocrisy.” Full text after the jump:

Question: Why is Marsha Looper attacking Amy Stephens?

Answer: It’s the best way to hide Marsha Looper’s Health Care Mandate and an inconsistent conservative record.

—–

The mail has already begun in what promises to be a bitter primary fight between Republican Reps. Marsha Looper and Amy Stephens. You might recall Stephens as one of the GOP’s most far-right members, though she apparently vacated that title permanently by drawing the ire of the Tea Party over her support for health care reform legislation that has since been dubbed “AmyCare.”

John Schroyer of the Colorado Springs Gazette has the scoop on Looper’s first mail piece bashing Stephens for her health care legislation support, and it’s a doozy. Click to see the PDF of the piece.


Marsha Looper’s Misleading Attacks Hide Looper’s Real Record

Marsha Looper’s Insurance Mandate is Health Care Hypocrisy

For Immediate Release

January 24, 2012  

Monument, CO – Question: Why is Marsha Looper attacking Amy Stephens?

Answer: It’s the best way to hide Marsha Looper’s Health Care Mandate and an inconsistent conservative record.

Marsha Looper’s Mandate is Health Care Hypocrisy

It’s amazing that Marsha Looper would attack Amy Stephens’ for passing a free-market health care solution-an idea developed by the conservative Heritage Foundation (Heritage Fact Sheet)-when Marsha Looper voted for Centennial Care Choices (SB08-217), a bill that paved the way for:

An Individual Mandate in Colorado that would have forced people to buy health insurance;

Increased Spending by subsidizing health insurance up to 300% of the poverty level, which means a family of four making $67,050 would have other taxpayers subsidizing their health coverage (www.HHS.gov);

Creating a New Tax to force people to comply and help pay for it.

Amy Stephens opposed Centennial Care Choices because it opened the door for an individual mandate, significantly increased spending and subsidies, and required a tax hike to be implemented.

The Denver Post’s editorial page endorsed Marsha’s Mandate saying, “This is a study with a difference, aimed at providing the foundation for universal health care coverage in 2010,” (Editorial, “Health care bill should be OK’d,” The Denver Post, 4/10/08).

The Denver Post went on to say that under Centennial Care Choices, “Failure to purchase such insurance could subject residents to a penalty on their state income tax. The state would subsidize poor people.”

The Post continued, “SB 217 [Marsha's Mandate] would thus work well in tandem with federal efforts to expand health care coverage, should they come. Democrat Hillary Clinton has recommended a Massachusetts-style initiative much like the program envisioned by SB 217,” (Editorial, “Health care bill should be OK’d,” The Denver Post, 4/10/08).

“Marsha Looper’s mandate is health care hypcocrisy,” said campaign spokesman, Dustin Olson.

“On one hand, Amy Stephens fought to opt Colorado OUT of Obamacare (HB11-1273) and passed a free-market health care solution that asserts our state rights, an idea developed by the conservative Heritage Foundation-the same group Rush Limbaugh promotes on his show,”

“On the other hand, Marsha Looper voted for Centennial Care Choices, which paved the way for an individual mandate, higher spending, and a tax hike to enforce it,” continued Olson.

“Amy Stephens is a fighter and has every right to stand up to Marsha Looper’s misleading and hypocritical attacks,” Olson concluded.  

In 2008, the Colorado Union of Taxpayers said of Centennial Care Choices:

“Colorado does not need a heavy handed bureaucratic program which enslaves its citizens and unduly burdens its economy. Rather the state should move to the freedom of more choices in health care,” which is one of the reasons Marsha Looper had a 48% CUT rating that year-the lowest rating ever for either candidate in the race (“2008 Report” Colorado Union of Taxpayers).

Centennial Care Choices “ties Colorado citizens to the tracks of the compulsory insurance locomotive,” said policy analyst Brian Schwartz in a blog post on Patient Power Now (Brian Schwartz, “Response to Moe Keller on health insurance,” PatientPowerNow.org).  

Writing an opinion piece for the Independence Institute and the Colorado Daily, Brian Schwartz adds:

“Even if the single-payer bill does not pass, proposing it could make an equally bad policy seem more “reasonable”: mandatory insurance. It’s law in Massachusetts, and it has gained traction in Colorado through the 208 Commission and Senate Bill 08-217,” (Brian Schwartz, “Politicians Cannot “Guarantee” Health Care,” The Colorado Daily, 3/8/09 and The Independence Institute, 3/11/09 ).

Linda Gorman of the Independence Institute compared Centennial Care Choices to the failing Massachusetts health care plan and pointed out the waste created by Centennial Care Choices:    

“It [Centennial Care Choices] creates yet another Commission to study raising Colorado health care costs by importing the failing Massachusetts health care reform plan. According to the revised April 26th fiscal impact statement accompanying the bill, this Commission will cost taxpayers at least $519,300 over the next two years,”(Linda Gorman, “Legislative Business As Usual: Take Money from Roads to Increase Health Care Costs,” The Independence Institute, 5/8/08).

An Individual Mandate is at the Center of the Lawsuit Against Obamacare

It is highly hypocritical to attack Amy Stephens’ free-market health care solution when  Marsha Looper voted for Centennial Care Choices and its option for an individual mandate–a policy that is at the center of the lawsuit against Obamacare.

As a plaintiff and co-plaintiff in the lawsuit against Obamacare, Attorney General John Suthers and the National Federation of Independent Business-the largest organization representing small businesses in the country-are two of the key players taking on Obamacare.

John Suthers Endorsed Amy Stephens & NFIB Named Stephens “Guardian of Small Business”

John Suthers has endorsed Amy Stephens for re-election, saying “Amy Stephens has stood beside me in defending the interests of Colorado and opposing Obamacare.”

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) named Amy Stephens a “Guardian of Small Business” for her work to protect and preserve the future of free enterprise and small business.

Ultimately, for most voters Marsha Looper’s vote for Centennial Care Choices that allows for an individual mandate is inconsistent at best and misleading at worst–a trait seen all too often in the typical incumbent politician.

For press inquiries, please contact Dustin Olson at (888) 414-1805. The following Fact Sheet will provide more background and research.  

###

MARSHA’S MANDATE: CENTENNIAL CARE CHOICES

BACKGROUND AND RESEARCH

PAVED THE WAY FOR AN INDIVIDUAL MANDATE:

The Legislation As Passed Acknowledges And Allows For The State To Impose Health Care Mandates On All Coloradans:

“(II) THAT THE STATE MAY IMPOSE A REQUIREMENT THAT ALL COLORADANS OBTAIN CREDITABLE COVERAGE, EITHER THROUGH A STATE-SANCTIONED VBP, ANOTHER HEALTH INSURANCE PRODUCTAVAILABLE IN THE PRIVATE MARKET FOR INDIVIDUALS OR GROUPS, PARTICIPATION IN A STATE OR FEDERAL PROGRAM PROVIDING BENEFITS OR COVERAGE FOR HEALTH CARE, OR ANY OTHER CREDITABLE COVERAGE;”  

(“Senate Bill 217,” Colorado General Assembly, www.leg.state.co.us)

The Centennial Care Choices Panel Report Concluded That An “Individual Mandate” Including “Enforcement Through Tax Penalties” Would Be Necessary In Order For Centennial Care Choices To Work:

“The Report Also Recommended Requiring All Coloradans To Obtain Insurance In Order For Centennial Care Choices To Work.”  

(Bob Mook, “Now May Not Be The Time To Subsidize Health Coverage,” Denver Business Journal, 4/2/09)

According To The Panel’s Report The Program Would Not Be Affordable Without An Individual Mandate:

“Proposed plans have attractive primary and preventive benefits; however, for the lowest income uninsured residents of our state, none of the VBPs (Value-Benefit Plan) would be affordable without an individual mandate, guaranteed issue requirements and a significant state subsidy.”  

(“Centennial Care Choices Final Report,” Department Of Health Care And Financing, www.colorado.gov, 3/2/09)

The Panel Concluded That The Next Step Would Be To Explore And Prepare To Implement An Individual Mandate: “1. Explore what a mandate means and how to implement it When economic conditions allow for provision of subsidies, considerations about how to implement the accompanying individual mandate should be fully researched and ready to implement.”  

(“Centennial Care Choices Final Report,” Department Of Health Care And Financing, www.colorado.gov, 3/2/09)

PAVED THE WAY FOR MORE SPENDING:

In Order For The Program To Work, Subsidies For Health Insurance Would Be Needed For Families That Make Up To 300% Of The Poverty Level; Requiring Funding From Multiple Revenue Sources:

The Bill Asserts That The State Of Colorado Should Work Toward Providing Insurance By “Developing A Balanced Partnership Between Private And Public Sectors.”  

(“Senate Bill 217,” Colorado General Assembly,  www.leg.state.co.us)

To which the Colorado Union of Taxpayers said, “It acknowledges that the State lacks the funds for such a program of universal coverage, so it looks for Federal funds as well as public/private partnerships, health care providers, and any one else under the sun for its conception.”  

(“2008 Report,” Colorado Union of Taxpayers, 2008)

“The Proposal, Known As Centennial Care Choices, Is Aimed At Coloradans Who Earn Too Much To Receive Medicaid But Who Aren’t Covered By Private Insurance.”

(Bob Mook, “Now May Not Be The Time To Subsidize Health Coverage,” Denver Business Journal, 4/2/09)

“The Report, Prepared By The Centennial Care Choices Panel, The Department Of Health Care Policy And Financing And The Colorado Department Of Regulatory Agencies, Said The State Would Need To Fund The Vast Majority – If Not All – Of Premium Costs To Encourage Enrollment In The Plans For People With Incomes Under 300 Percent Of The Federal Poverty Level.”  

(Bob Mook, “Now May Not Be The Time To Subsidize Health Coverage,” Denver Business Journal, 4/2/09)

In 2011, 300% of Poverty Level was $67,050 for a family of four (www.HHS.gov).

PAVED THE WAY FOR MORE TAXES:

The Legislation As Passed Acknowledges That If An Individual Mandate Is Imposed A Change The State Tax Laws Will Be Needed For Enforcement:

“(III) THAT THE STATE WILL ESTABLISH A MECHANISM TO ENFORCE THE REQUIREMENT THAT ALL COLORADO RESIDENTS OBTAIN CREDITABLE COVERAGE THROUGH THE STATE TAX LAWS, IF SUCH REQUIREMENT IS IMPOSED;”  

(“Senate Bill 217,” Colorado General Assembly, www.leg.state.co.us)

In 2009, The Centennial Care Choices Panel Found That The Program Would Not Be Viable Without Tax Penalties:

“Enforcement is necessary to achieve gains in coverage under an individual mandate, but it is also important as a matter of fairness to the overwhelming majority of those who already have coverage or who voluntarily comply.”  

(“Centennial Care Choices Final Report,” Department Of Health Card And Financing, www.colorado.gov, 3/2/09)

###

3 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. MADCO says:

    …is there video?

    But is this any hint how Colorado R will caucus for or against Romney care?

    I mean the CO caucus is soon, right? I’d guess it will still be a 3-way when the circus comes to town, no matter what anyone says about Florida as firewall or knock out or whatever.

    Of course, both Romney and Gingrich have supported an individual mandate at some point.    Which leaves Paul, who is not going to “win” Colorado. He will get some delegates to county or CD. May even get a delegate or two come state convention time next summer, when it will absolutely no matter.

    I always wonered why cognitive dissonance doesn’t  hurt.  

  2. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    They disagree on health care.  Amy’s right, Marsha is wrong, but many in the Republican party prefer cheap politics to trying to help thousands of Coloradans achieve affordable health care.  

      Wait until the next flyer, when Looper reiterates her support for John C. Calhoun in the Secession Crisis!

  3. BlueCat says:

    never propose anything sensible.  There’s nothing you’ll get bashed for more in a GOTP primary than failing to be sufficiently hysterical.  When they say “not a true conservative”, what they mean is, not enough foaming at the mouth.  

Leave a Reply

Comment from your Facebook account


You may comment with your Colorado Pols account above (click here to register), or via Facebook below.