Yes on 105…Here is the Rest of the Story-

It’s a Label-Colorado has a Right to Know

 

I listened to a lot of Paul Harvey as a kid.  Unintentionally I guess, I don’t know, listening to the radio back when that was our option—on family road trips, in the car with parents on errands.  I recall him as an affable older man, even then three decades or so before he finally stopped broadcasting. 

By now we have all seen the ads with the friendly grandfatherly ‘farmer’ predicting all manner of gloom and doom if consumers get a new label on the food we buy.  $10 Million in 6- and 7 figure chunks from newly minted SCOTUS ‘persons’ like Smuckers, Pepsico, Dow Agro and, of course, Monsanto buys real penetration.

But first off, genuine Colorado accent and cred aside, the nice gentleman is dissembling.  He is standing there, Colorado, looking sincerely in the camera and misleading you.  Oh, and he’s a paid lobbyist for Big Ag.

 
On that first point here are the facts:
 

Proposition 105 would require a new label on most food sold in Colorado stores and markets and requires nothing new of farmers, other than disclosing what they are growing if their buyer doesn’t already know. 

Farmers already using GMO seeds and selling to food companies that are aware of the reality of where their sugar beets, for instance, are sourced can keep doing business like they are now.

For food manufacturers and those selling directly to consumers: the final product would have to be labeled accordingly by mid-2016, like many of them already are for export across the globe.

 

Labeling works. 

Labeling allows consumers to make choices informed by data that matter to them.  This is its intent.  Sixty-four nations—including 16 of Colorado’s top 25 trading partners—require labeling of genetically engineered foods, and their shelves are still full and the costs of their products have not spiked. 

Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, recently did this work in Oregon (which has a similar measure on its ballot), and compared food costs in nations that have labeling of genetically engineered foods and the few (western) nations that do not (you can count them on your hand) and found no meaningful difference in costs.

Oh, and back to that friendly earnest farmer. Or lobbyist.  That’s Don Ament, lobbyist for J. Andrew Green & Associate a registered ‘Biotech’ representative at the Colorado Legislature.  

We know labeling works because we have almost the entire western world and many other nations to look to and see that it does: including all of the European Union, Brazil, Russia, China, Japan, India and Mexico. 

If all these nations can respond successfully to what consumers clearly want, then companies operating in Colorado can adapt as well.  Many American companies already label their products for these other markets, even those that are fighting it here.   

Colorado consumers should not be left in the dark, and enacting Proposition 105 would take a huge and critical step toward more, not less, informed consumer choice. 

It is not a ban on any seed or technology, or a requirement that any farmer change practice.  It is a label that already works in 64 nations around the world where groceries are still on the shelves at comparable prices. 

Corporations should not be afraid to tell Coloradans what is in the products we are buying to feed our families.  That is the short of it.  Colorado has a right to know…that is the rest of the story. 

___________________

This blog is my own opinion but I am voting YES on 105.  I count myself among many Coloradans that support this reasonable step toward more informed consumer choice, and I am proud to be an advocate for its passage.  

You too can volunteer at www.righttoknowcolorado.org/volunteer 

Ballots drop in 4 days…please vote YES on 105 and don't be bamboozled by big money even if it wears a cowboy hat.  

 

Rand Paul’s upcoming visit to Denver is learning opportunity for Gardner

(This might get awkward – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

Cory Gardner can learn about federal personhood legislation, which he falsely claims does not exist, when Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky visits Denver later this month.

Paul is the sponsor of the Life at Conception Act, which is a federal personhood bill that mandates the same bans on abortion and contraception as Colorado's personhood measures, which Gardner disavowed in March.

Gardner co-sponsored the House version of the Life at Conception Act last summer, but has recently denied the existence of the legislation, saying repeatedly that there is no federal persononhood bill."

Paul, who argues that the Life at Conception Act would overturn Roe v. Wade, will be in Denver for a gathering on Oct. 23 and 24, sponsored by the "Colorado Renewal Project," called "Rediscovering God in America," with "Special Guests Senator Rand Paul, Senator Ted Cruz, Congressman James Lankford, and [talk-radio-host] Dennis Prager]."

During a Denver-Post sponsored debate Tuesday, Gardner's opponent, Sen. Mark Udall, asked Gardner directly if he’d co-sponsor the Senate version of the “Life at Conception Act,” if Gardner were elected.

“Again, the bill in the House is a statement that I support life,” replied Gardner. “I have not seen the bill in the Senate. Believe it or not, not everybody in the House reads bills in the Senate that have only been introduced and not heard by committee.”

Paul's Senate version of the Life at Conception Act is essentially identical to the House version of the bill cosponsored by Gardner. Paul explains here how the Life at Conception Act is part "bold and aggressive campaign to end abortion on demand."

(more…)

Udall ignored (D) voters, will they ignore him in 2014?

Colorado Senator Mark Udall is up for re-election in 2014. As anyone who follows politics knows, that is right around the corner and the campaign has almost certainly begun. (We can thank Republicans like Karl Rove for the never-ending campaign.)

Riding Barack Obama's coattails 2008, Udall easily won his senate seat:

Obama took six of the 11 Western states, spreading the Democrats' apparent majority inland from the West Coast to include Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico.

Here are the Colorado numbers from 2008:

Obama won with 54% and 1,288,576 votes.


Udall won with 53% and 1,230,994 votes.

(You'll note who got more votes than Mark Udall. This might be a standard occurrence in state votes, but it should not be disregarded in my humble opinion. A vote for Udall was mere millimeters away from a vote for Obama.)

Despite voters' clear mandate in 2008, and the obvious disgust with which they regarded Republicans nationally, our very wise Senator and his partner, both Udall and Michael Bennet, chose to use a tired, old strategy from the 90s: triangulation.

Triangulation has some logic behind it. And when wielded by the greatest politician of his generation, Bill Clinton, it seemed to work like magic. Democrats have been enamored of it since.

But there's a big "but" here that current Democrats in elected office haven't fully taken into account:

The 2008 move to the right by both Udall and Bennet immediately, and purposefully, hampered the ability of our newly elected president to act on his mandate and might've encouraged the historically belligerent behavior of Republicans.

The election is days away. Who will be this year's winner: Republicans, DC Consultants, or Democratic voters?

Cory Gardner: The Great Unraveling Continues

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

The Grand Junction Sentinel's Charles Ashby is the latest Colorado journalist to document the rapid breakdown of GOP U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner's message on abortion and contraception policy. In a detailed story today, Ashby recounts the conflict between Gardner's abandonment of the state Personhood abortion bans and his continued sponsorship of the functionally equivalent federal Life at Conception Act–and how Gardner's explanations for this conflict have failed the most basic tests for accuracy:

U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, doesn’t see an inconsistency in reversing his support for a statewide personhood ballot measure and his co-sponsorship of a federal Life at Conception Act measure now before Congress…

About a month after he entered the race in February, Gardner announced that he had reversed his support of the state personhood effort, saying he did so because it would lead to outlawing certain forms of contraception.

In a long and sometimes heated discussion about the issue with The Daily Sentinel editorial board, Gardner repeated that stance, saying he supports the use of contraception, including making some available over the counter.

But when asked why he continued to keep his name among the 131 other cosponsors of the Life at Conception Act, he said repeatedly that it wouldn’t have the same impact as a state constitutional amendment even though it would impact the entire nation as opposed to a single state…

The description of Gardner's meeting with the Grand Junction Sentinel editorial board as "heated" is consistent with Gardner's answers to Eli Stokols of FOX 31 when pressed to explain the difference between the Personhood measures and the federal Life at Conception Act. And it's consistent with Gardner's demeanor when questioned by the Denver Post in this week's debate. In both cases, Gardner's canned response that "there is no federal Personhood bill" wasn't accepted by the interviewer–and Gardner had no better answer to offer.

The reason is simple: Gardner can't defend his position.

[President of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountain Region Vicki] Cowart points to another co-sponsor of the act, Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

In a recent online plea for donations to the National Pro-Life Alliance, Paul said the act would be used to overturn the landmark 1973 decision, Roe v. Wade, that made abortion legal. [Pols emphasis]

Bottom line: Gardner is asking voters to disregard what the other sponsors of this legislation themselves say it would do. Because Personhood and the Life at Conception Act both contain the same language conferring rights from "the moment of fertilization," the distinction Gardner has tried to make between the two never made sense, and we identified this conflict when Gardner originally disavowed Personhood. It's why the final deadline for Gardner to remove himself from the federal bill, adjournment of the House until after the November elections, was so important.

Gardner made the conscious decision to remain a sponsor of the Life at Conception Act, and to justify that decision by creating a distinction between the two proposals that, as fact-checkers, experts, and other sponsors of the bill agree, does not exist. The growing exasperation from the press as Gardner demands they disregard what they can plainly see is manifesting in extremely damaging stories that no longer make any attempt to spare him from criticism. And this is the key point: Gardner's insistent break with reality on this issue is enough to make it a problem for voters who don't care about abortion.

Because at a certain level, everyone hates being lied to.

Jill Repella – Scaring Women to the R Side

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

 Bob Beauprez and Jill Repella,photo from Beauprez CampaignRecently, in Pueblo, Beauprez attempted to sidetrack discussion about reproductive choice with a strange diatribe about how women are really scared about Hickenlooper's release of violent parolees, and this is the security issue for which women should vote Republican.

Lieutenant Governor candidate Jill Repella posted a statement on the Beauprez website :  HIgh Risk Parolee Scandal. She touts her female credentials: "As a single mother, I find that [release of parolees] appalling." Repella, a woman promoting this as a woman's issue,  attempts to woo women to the Republican side as "security voters".

Beauprez got booed by the audience, and lambasted by Mike Littwin, for bringing  the murder of prisons chief Tom Clements by parolee Evan Ebel into the debate to make his point about women's safety. Hickenlooper responded factually, that prisoners are no longer released directly from solitary confinement onto the streets.

(more…)

If personhood passes, pregnant women could face prosecution for driving without a seatbelt

Opponents of Colorado’s latest Personhood initiative, Amendment 67, claim, in media reports, that their measure isn’t about banning abortion.

Multiple reporters have pushed back, pointing out that the Personhood-USA-backed initiative is actually another iteration of failed personhood amendments, aimed at outlawing all abortion and common forms of birth control.

But local reporting hasn’t explained in sufficient detail that this year’s amendment is unique nationally in subjecting pregnant women to harassment and prosecution from law enforcement officials.

Under Amendment 67, pregnant women could face arrest for everything from choosing abortion to driving without wearing a seat belt, as explained to me by Lynn Paltrow, director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, who was in Colorado last month to campaign against Amendment 67.

Paltrow presented a series of slides during a presentation with the text of common criminal statutes in Colorado: murder, manslaughter, vehicular homicide, reckless endangerment.

She replaced the words “person” or “child” with “unborn human being.”

For example, you commit murder in Colorado if you intend “to cause the death of another person.” If “person” becomes “unborn child,” then abortion becomes murder, Paltrow said.

Paltrow showed a slide of Colorado’s child abuse statute, inserted “unborn human being” into the statute’s wording, and explained how the law, as changed under Amendment 67, could be used to investigate, prosecute, and arrest a pregnant women believed to have put her “unborn child” at risk.

“What they are asking the citizens of Colorado to do is put in place a set of laws that begins by saying, ‘We believe a woman who has an abortion is guilty of first degree murder and deserves either life in prison or the death penalty.’ There are no exceptions.”

“Anything that a woman does that someone later believes she shouldn’t have done becomes evidence of recklessness,” she continued. “Standing on a ladder. Painting your nursery at six-months pregnant and falling off. Skiing while pregnant. Driving without wearing a seat belt. Not obeying a doctor’s advice to get bed rest. Child abuse becomes fertilized-egg abuse.”

Paltrow, who goes into more detail about Amendment 67 here, says she sympathizes with Heather Surovic, a proponent of the measure, who was eight-months pregnant when a drunk driver slammed into her car. She lost her unborn child, which she’d named “Brady.”

“The irony is, if this amendment in Brady’s memory succeeded, what Brady’s memory would really be doing is creating a law that could have had his mother arrested even if she’d done absolutely nothing wrong or reckless,” said Paltrow, citing a New York case in which a pregnant woman was convicted of manslaughter of her own child after being in a car accident. “What the Brady Amendment would do is make mothers absolutely vulnerable to arrest themselves.”

Reporters again try but again fail to get truth from Gardner on federal “personhood” bill

(Video clips added, here is part 2 of Gardner's debate disaster – promoted by Colorado Pols)

In an article this morning, Fox 31 Denver's Eli Stokols reports that senatorial candidate Cory Gardner shifted last night from repeatedly saying to multiple reporters (as documented in the video above) that there is "no federal personhood bill" to saying, repeatedly, that it's "simply a statement."

Stokols writes:

“The federal act that you are referring to is simply a statement that I believe in life,” Gardner said when asked about the Life Begins at Conception Act by Lynn Bartels.

When Udall repeatedly went back to the issue, Gardner stuck to script, repeating his line that his co-sponsorship of the measure is “simply a statement that I support life.”

Gardner also attempted to separate the House Life at Conception Act, which he signed on as a co-sponsor to last summer, from the nearly identical Senate version, which he claimed not to have seen, and dismissed the notion, pushed by Udall’s campaign, that the legislation could result in banning some forms of birth control.

In countering this nonsense from Gardner, Stokols cites an appeal from Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, explaining that “by legally defining that life begins at conception, — would simply bring the legal definition of “life” in line with the biological definition… in effect overturning Roe v. Wade."

Here's the audio of Paul's brutally honest statement of support for the Life at Conception Act.

(more…)

Laura Woods’ anti-freedom stance on personhood turns off libertarian blogger

Laura Waters Woods

Laura Waters Woods

If you don't know about Ari Armstrong's "Defend Liberty Always" blog, you should take a look at it. In this post, Armstrong, who's a detail-oriented, deep-thinking libertarian, explains why he can't vote for state senate candidate Laura Woods.

I confess that I tried not to look too closely at the Republican candidate for my Colorado senate district (number 19), Laura Woods, because I was afraid of what I might find. After gleefully witnessing the fall of Evie Hudack following her reckless, Bloomberg-inspired campaign against peaceable gun owners (after which Democrats replaced her with Rachel Zenzinger, now the Democratic candidate), I really wanted the seat to turn Republican.

After the fiascos of ObamaCare (implications of which played out in the state legislature), the Democrats’ persecution of gun owners, the Democrats’ war on energy producers and consumers, and other matters, this would have been an excellent year for the GOP to punish the Democrats and win back some seats. But, Republicans being Republicans (aka “The Stupid Party”), Republicans in my district nominated a candidate I cannot possible vote for.

Thus, just a couple of weeks after announcing I planned to vote a straight-Republican ticket, I now have to make an exception and declare that I cannot and will not vote for Laura Woods. The basic problem is that Woods enthusiastically endorses total abortion bans, including the insane and horrific “personhood” measure on the ballot this year.

Armstrong writes frequently and thoughtfully about how personhood amendments would violate the basic freedoms a women should have in America. Woods went too far down the personhood path for Armstrong.

And if other self-identifying libertarian pundits in town, like the Independence Institute's Jon Caldara, are going to be consistent, they should agree with Armstrong.

Aurora Sentinel Endorses Romanoff in Strongly-Worded Editorial

CD-6 candidate Andrew Romanoff (D).

The Aurora Sentinel endorses Andrew Romanoff in CO-6.

The Aurora Sentinel is the largest newspaper in Congressional District 6 — and really the only major newspaper covering Aurora — and today they published a surprisingly-strong endorsement of Democrat Andrew Romanoff over incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Coffman. As the Sentinel explains, Romanoff is a clear choice to represent the growing middle class in CO-6:

You’re about 40 years old. You and your spouse make close to $55,000 a year. About half of you are white, but the rest of you are either black, Latino or Asian. And you’re worried about how you’re going to hold onto what you’ve got. As part of the shrinking middle class in Aurora, and the nation, both candidates for the 6th Congressional District would pretty much have your back on economics if you send them to Washington. But only one of the candidates would vote on most issues the same way you would, and that’s Andrew Romanoff…[Pols emphasis]

…As the next Congress tries, again, to take up the matters of health care, immigration, Medicare, equal pay, federal spending, student aid, new energy development and the limitation of corporate greed and influence, Andrew Romanoff’s record and goals reflect what the district wants and needs. He offers a path forward that makes sense for all of Aurora.

The complete editorial is worth a read, if nothing else because it is so detailed in its assessment of Aurora's changing needs and environment. The Sentinel is critical of Coffman, though its critique is framed largely around the idea that Coffman is no longer representative of a district that bears little resemblance to the heavily-conservative boundaries that outlined CD-6 prior to the last census in 2010:

When Coffman first went to Congress to represent a very different district, drawn farther south as a conservative stronghold, his votes, rhetoric and opinions played well to those constituents. But they’re gone…

…Rather than be candid about it and campaign on his conservative politics, Coffman has worked hard to camouflage it. His voting record and work in Congress are nothing to be ashamed of, especially on military matters, it just doesn’t mirror the politics of the district. [Pols emphasis]

This is a compelling endorsement in a race that will be one of the most expensive — if not the most expensive — in the entire country. This is the kind of analysis that could cut through the clutter and make a significant difference to voters who may feel overwhelmed by TV ads and mailers — and Romanoff's campaign will no doubt spread this editorial far and wide.

Sentinel Sticks with G.O.Bs – Endorses Ray (“Next in Line!”) Scott for Latest Disgraced Mesa Pol’s Senate Seat

In the 'No Surprises' category the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel toed the Niobrara-West Grand Junction Chamber line and endorsed the odiously corrupt Good Old Boys' anointed representative for the good sheeple of Mesa County.

That would be esteemed state representative Ray "I don't pass legislation but I do take per diem" Scott.

The Sentinel seemed particularly impressed that Scott was able to use complete sentences and mention activity other than drilling the world.  

To our surprise, Scott is no longer advancing a singular “drill, baby, drill” solution to the region’s economic woes.

But Scott has the opportunity to be the senior member of Mesa County’s legislative delegation and we might finally see a payoff for his experience (admittedly over our objections) in the Legislature. He seems humbled by the last session and more attuned to the nuances of effective representation.

Among Rep. Scott's noted 'accomplishments'?  He sponsored a bill (that failed) and invited the Gov to another town outside Scott's district to talk shop.  

He was able to get Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper to meet for a Western Slope economic summit in Glenwood Springs. He also gathered bipartisan support for a bill to establish a task force to study the state’s K-12 testing system.

And although he is a 'fiscal conservative' he hopes to bring both more state and more federal taxpayer money to prop up the GOP-GOBs machine in the county and fuel public sector jobs: 

…establishing research facilities in conjunction with CMU to attract federal funding.

 

Anyone think the GOP primary dance on gay marriage will end anytime soon?

A familiar pattern among GOP candidates in Colorado has been to openly oppose gay-marriage during primary season and then try to sweep such positions away for the general election.

You may have hopes, but you have to doubt that this week’s developments on gay marriage will change this dance, as exemplified by GOP state senate candidate Tony Sanchez.

Sanchez came out strong against same-sex marriage prior to his unexpected primary victory in June, stating on his campaign website at the time:

Sanchez: “I will protect the lives of the most vulnerable, defend traditional marriage, and protect your right for personal/religious liberty.”

But shortly after his primary win, the “Pro-life, Pro-family, Pro-liberty” section of his website, including his promise to “defend traditional marriage” vanished completely, in an apparent makeover move for Jeffco voters.

The cleaning up of his website apparently hasn’t done much to help Sanchez raise money. Sanchez and fellow Rocky-Mountain-Gun-Owner-backed candidate Laura Woods are lagging way behind their non-RMGO-backed GOP counterparts from the 2012 election cycle.

Sanchez and Woods are running in swing Jeffco state Senate districts that Republicans had hoped might flip the state senate over to the GOP.

Here is a comparison, from campaign finance reports, of Sanchez’  fundraising totals in 2014 (vs. Summers’ in 2012) to Laura Woods’  fundraising totals in 2014 (vs. Sias’ in 2012):

Ken Summers (SD 22 candidate in 2012)

Total raised (full cycle): $ 130,000

Cash-on-hand (Oct. 1) : $ 80,000

Tony Sanchez (SD 22 candidate in 2014)

Total Rasied (Oct. 1) $ 69,000

Cash on hand (Oct. 1): $ 19,000

Lang Sias (SD 19 Candidate in 2012)

Total raised (full cycle): $ 123,000

Cash on hand (Oct. 1): $ 74,000

Laura Woods (SD 19 Candidate in 2014)

Total Raised (Oct. 1): $ 99,000

Cash on hand (Oct. 1): $ 27,000

Udall v. Gardner: LIVE BLOG!

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

The Election season rolls on, and so do we. It's time for another LIVE BLOG!!!

We're back at the auditorium of the Denver Post building for a debate for U.S. Senate between Sen. Mark Udall and Congressman Cory Gardner. The crowd is filling in, the coins are being tossed, and it's about to get all Senate-y in here. For those who want to watch the action themselves, check out DenverPost.com for the live feed.

*NOTE: The most current update appears at the top of the page. As always, unless it is in direct quotes, consider all statements paraphrased in the interest of time.


FINAL THOUGHTS
This felt very much like the end of Cory Gardner's campaign for Senate. Gardner came off as childish and petulant, smiling happily at himself whenever he thought of a new one-liner (though unaware that he was the only one laughing). Gardner also appeared ill-prepared and unsure of himself; his consistent refusal to answer questions — even Yes/No questions — absolutely stood out for everyone in the room and will no doubt continue to dog him for the remainder of the campaign. Gardner's ill-timed jokes and indecipherable answers made him look almost disinterested — like a teenager who has grown bored of this "Senate campaign thing."

On the other side, Udall was strong throughout the debate, but he didn't have to work very hard to outshine Gardner when the latter would offer only cliches and platitudes in response to every question. This was a cakewalk for Udall.

Gardner can only hope that the media coverage of this debate comes and goes quickly. If national media pick up on this horrendous performance, pundits around the country will be declaring that Udall has the race well in hand. Gardner entered the room with a shiny gray suit that seemed a little too big on his frame; he left much the same way.

(more…)

Colorado’s Health Exchange on Track to Meet Budget Goals

Connect for Health Colorado, our state’s health insurance exchange, had its first anniversary as a marketplace last week. That’s a milestone, but a more important milestone comes in 2015. That’s when the marketplace must be financially self-sufficient.

Based on early projections, it looks like the marketplace is on its way to meeting that goal.

Connect for Health Colorado’s Finance Committee recently offered a revenue projection for the current year. Using a conservative approach, it projects that revenue for 2014 is about $600,000 above earlier estimates, and total revenue for the year is expected to top out at $5.4 million.   

Revenue for Connect for Health Colorado comes from a 1.4 percent administrative fee on premiums for health plans sold through the marketplace, as well as a number of other sources. The average monthly premium this year is about $337.  

During the first open-enrollment period, many analysts and pundits predicted low enrollment, especially given technical problems experienced in the rollout of the federal exchange. As it turned out, both national and state enrollment numbers were better than expected. Connect for Health Colorado’s enrollment turned out to be well above projections. As of Sept. 2, enrollment reached 146,110, well above the midrange estimate of 136,300. And now, enrollment is more than 148,000, according to estimates.

Of that total, 90 percent paid the initial premium and obtained coverage. The 10 percent non-payment rate is not especially surprising.  Most of these new enrollees were likely uninsured and unfamiliar with the health insurance market and processes. Some of these potential enrollees may have been determined to be eligible for Medicaid after their initial enrollment. Some may have taken jobs with health benefits. Others may have decided not to purchase coverage and instead paid the individual mandate tax penalty. For 2014, that penalty was the lowest it will ever be – $95 for a single adult and a maximum of $285 for a family, or 1 percent of family income, whichever is larger.   

One key area where data is still lagging is the number of policy cancellations and renewals. In fact, the marketplace does not have comprehensive data for policyholder attrition. The carriers provide that data, and there is no hard-and-fast deadline for submitting it. The actual attrition or cancellation rate for individual-market policies in 2014 will probably not be available until April or May of next year.   

Another factor complicating data collection on cancellation notices is the introduction of a federal grace period. The Affordable Care Act created a 90-day grace period for enrollees who receive a federal subsidy to pay their premiums before an insurer can terminate coverage. These are lower-income individuals, and some may have trouble consistently making premium payments. The grace period means, after making an initial payment, policyholders can go up to three months without making a payment before coverage is terminated. Almost 60 percent of marketplace enrollees receive federal subsidies and are considered enrolled until carriers report termination of coverage.  

In its revenue calculations, Connect for Health Colorado used a conservative assumption of retaining 70 percent of enrollees. That estimate was not an actual cancellation rate and was used for financial planning purposes only. The point of the 70 percent estimate was to show that even with a high cancellation rate, the marketplace would still have sufficient revenue.

Another positive note is that enrollment is increasing. Even though some people are leaving the system, even more are coming in. Under the ACA, insurance can be purchased only during predefined open-enrollment periods, unless there has been a “qualifying life event,” such as a divorce, marriage, birth or loss of coverage.  Connect for Health Colorado is getting roughly 4,000 enrollees per month from people experiencing life-changing events. This clearly shows interest and demand.

In addition, upcoming individual mandate penalties are expected to have a greater impact on consumer choices. The penalty for 2015 will increase to $325 per single adult and up to $975 per family, or 2 percent of family income, whichever is larger.  In 2016, the penalty will max out at $695 per adult and $2,085 per family, or 2.5 percent of family income, whichever is larger. As the penalty increases, there will be a greater incentive to purchase coverage.   

For 2015, Connect for Health Colorado offers a range in estimating enrollment: 54,500 on the low end, 80,000 at midrange and 128,500 on the high end. We won’t know actual numbers for more than a year, but if the midrange estimate is correct, the marketplace will be enrolling substantially more people than might leave under a high attrition rate.  

The results of the midterm elections and federal court challenges to the Affordable Care Act could have an impact on the exchanges and the insurance market. So how the health care reform law and the exchanges will affect enrollment over the long run remains to be seen.

But for now, in Colorado, estimates and trends are heading in the right direction.

– Bob Semro

Tea Party Express Officially Endorses Cory Gardner for Senate

UPDATE: For the record, this is the same Tea Party Express that enthusiastically backed last year's shutdown of the federal government to stop Obamacare–the same shutdown Cory Gardner insists today he "never supported." Here's what TPE said then:

“Congress can and must use the ‘power of the purse’ to ensure that no more taxpayer dollars can be used to implement this bureaucratic train wreck,” said Tea Party Express Chairman Amy Kremer. “We support the efforts of principled public servants like Mike Lee and Ted Cruz who are giving the President and Senate Democrats a choice: Either continue funding the government without giving one more dime to Obamacare, or shut down the government to prop up an unpopular law that even their supporters admit will not work and cannot be enforced.” [Pols emphasis]

Hey, you know, forget all that.

—–

Gardner-Tea Party Express

All aboard?

Yesterday the Tea Party Express officially announced their endorsement of Republican Cory Gardner for U.S. Senate. From a press release:

Tea Party Express, the nation’s largest Tea Party political action committee, proudly endorses Congressman Cory Gardner for U.S. Senate in Colorado.

Tea Party Express Executive Director Taylor Budowich said, “In 2010, Cory Gardner was elected as part of the bold, Tea Party wave that swept the country. He delivered a promising vision of the future, rooted in conservative-minded reform and policy solutions. He is now taking that vision statewide, and challenging the failed, liberal policies of President Obama and Senator Mark Udall. We are confident in Cory’s resolve to bring common-sense, conservative solutions to the U.S. Senate; we encourage every Coloradan to vote for Cory Gardner on Election Day,” Budowich concluded.

This is not an endorsement that Republicans like Cory Gardner would like you to know about, which is probably why it only shows up on obscure news sites that accept press releases from paid submission companies such as Targeted News Service (no offense intended to those regular readers of InsuranceNewsNet.com). Gardner needs to be seen as a moderate candidate in order to have any hope of defeating incumbent Sen. Mark Udall, and public support from the Tea Party doesn't further that goal; the Tea Party is about as popular as a Raiders' fan at a Broncos' party, as Gallup continues to show.

On the plus side for Gardner, he does also have the official endorsement of Margo:

“As a conservative grass-roots activist, I support Cory because he has uncompromising integrity, he understands Colorado’s priorities and will stand strong to represent our state responsibly while protecting our freedoms in every decision he makes.”

Margo (Co-Developer – Coffee4Conservatives)

Gardner Clams Up As Same-Sex Marriages Resume

Good for the economy, too.

Good for the economy, too.

As the Denver Post's Jesse Paul reports, same-sex marriages are taking places across Colorado today as the last remaining stays against county clerks are vacated. After years of political battles, lost elections, and in the end anticlimactic court decisions responding to public opinion that has shifted dramatically, marriage equality is the law in Colorado:

Douglas County started issuing same-sex marriage licenses at 8 a.m. on Tuesday…

In Jefferson County, the first same-sex licence was issued at about noon, and Clerk and Recorder Pam Anderson said it was "pretty exciting."

Anderson expects a similar number of same-sex marriage licenses as civil unions. The county has issued 241 civil unions.

The licenses are being issued in response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision on Monday to deny appeals against laws allowing same-sex marriage and a subsequent proclamation that the marriages will now be legal in Colorado.

9NEWS has more from Jefferson County Clerk Pam Anderson, a Republican:

"I believe strongly in individual rights," the Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder Pam Anderson said. "I personally support marriage equality, and I am proud to be part of this historic day."

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Polling shows that Colorado voters are strongly in favor of marriage equality today–61% in favor to only 33% opposed. That's a sea change from the electorate's mood in 2006, when a gay marriage ban was passed in Colorado and even civil unions failed a popular vote. In the past eight years, the issue has evolved right out from under Colorado Republicans–to the extent that the GOP House majority's shenanigans in 2012 to stop a civil unions bill from passing the legislature playing a significant role in Democrats retaking that chamber in November.

And it's another moment where GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner's long record is now a liability. As a state representative, Gardner voted against joint custody for same-sex couples in adoption cases. In Congress, Gardner voted against funding to implement the repeal of the military's hated "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. At the same time, Gardner's long string of flip-flops in this campaign is a major liability all by itself. And with the press now paying critical attention to what he says, it's an increasingly dangerous ploy.

With all of that in mind, what is Gardner supposed to say about same-sex marriage? Answer, as FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports: as little as possible.

"My views on marriage have long been clear," Gardner said to FOX31 Denver. [Pols emphasis] "I believe we must treat each other with dignity and respect. This issue is in the hands of the courts and we must honor their legal decisions.

"While others might seek to divide Coloradans, I will not do that. Coloradans are tired of politicians who spend all their time on partisan hot-button issues that divide our state…"

The problem with that, of course, is that Democrats didn't force the Supreme Court to take this action. Before Republicans found themselves on the wrong side of public opinion, Gardner was more than happy to campaign against, and vote against, the very same equal rights for gay and lesbian citizens that the Supreme Court has upheld and much of the state is celebrating today. The fact is, this is an issue both sides have spent a great deal of time and effort on–LGBT Coloradans and Democratic allies in support, Gardner and Republicans opposed.

The only difference today is that Gardner's side lost.