Healthcare

Our “On the Issues” pages draw from speeches, interviews, campaign websites, our candidate questionnaire and prior media coverage, including our own. These pages will continue to be updated.

Steve Barlock

On the state’s health insurance exchange: “When someone needs medical care, the last thing they need is more bureaucracy. I support our doctors, nurses, and medical practitioners and will work to cut down the red tape that has strangled their profession for the past thirty years. By offering a streamlined profession with less bureaucratic hurdles than other states, Colorado will be able to keep the great medical people we have and recruit high quality ones to help care for our citizens.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

On a single-payer system: “This flawed idea was thoroughly rejected by Colorado voters by more than a three to one margin. Although many of my opponents might try to repackage this failed concept, I will actively work against it.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

Cynthia Coffman

“We need to be more creative in the ways that we deliver healthcare in communities and mental health services and the way that we serve the disabled in Colorado.” CBS Denver

Lew Gaiter

In The Colorado Independent’s candidate questionnaire, Gaiter said he would not support reintroducing a proposal for a single-payer healthcare system in Colorado, but that he is in favor of keeping the state’s health insurance exchange. 

“He likes some parts of Obamacare: No losing insurance for pre-existing conditions, for instance, and children being on their parents plans until they’re 25. ‘I like some of those things that make it possible that people can get health care,’ he says, while cost is an area that still needs more debate. He would work with the medical community to rein it in.  He hasn’t been paying close enough attention to what other states are doing to say whether there might be something to emulate in Colorado. He said he wants to make sure there’s a ‘good, effective safety net for all the citizens of Colorado’ and that everyone has adequate access.'” The Colorado Independent

Noel Ginsburg

My vision for a healthier Colorado is driven by one basic principle — that there is a fundamental right for all Coloradans to have quality health care. Care must be affordable for all individuals, and fiscally feasible for the state.” Noel for Colorado

“Colorado’s state health care spending has risen significantly in the recent past. …At the current pace, we will bankrupt the state trying to provide care for everyone. Our policy should not focus on putting more money into a broken system, we need to make improvements, and expand coverage to all Coloradans under a system that serves everyone better.” Noel for Colorado

On the state’s health insurance exchange: “Given the volatile state of Washington D.C.’s healthcare policy, Colorado must find a solution to ensure healthcare is available to all of our citizens. As Governor, I will partner with a coalition of Western states to build an interstate compact that forms a regional healthcare system to provide healthcare for all. By joining with other states, we will create a large enough healthcare marketplace to ensure quality, affordability, and accessibility through competition among providers that will bring down costs.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

On a single-payer system: “I do not believe that the proposal in 2016 created a large enough market to be successful. My proposal creates a large interstate healthcare marketplace that could support a hybrid model that provides a guaranteed affordable public option to those not supported by their employer.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

Mike Johnston

“My plan will reduce health care costs, increase access — especially access to mental and behavioral health support — and invest in prevention so that we aren’t just treating illness, but actually making people and communities fundamentally healthier. …I’ll launch a public option for families locked out of affordable health insurance and expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to cover every income-eligible child and pregnant woman — regardless of immigration status. I will recruit physicians to serve in areas with shortages and expand telemedicine access, so even those in the most distant corners of our state can reach care. I will make provider and prescription drug prices more transparent, so we can move our system to one where there’s a shared incentive to promote health, not charge for more procedures. I will increase support for those suffering from mental health or substance abuse disorders, defend access to contraception, and increase access to healthy foods — all while deepening our focus on prevention and healthy lifestyles.” Mike Johnston for Colorado

On the state’s health insurance exchange: “As long as significant number of Coloradans are benefitting from the choice and availability of plans on the exchange, and more than 165,000 found policies there last year, I would support maintaining it.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

On a single-payer system: “I believe we need to continue to seek other solutions to the health insurance challenges faced by Coloradans, including allowing residents of underserved market to buy their way into Medicaid in order to have affordable coverage.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

Cary Kennedy

I am proposing that all Coloradans be able to buy into Medicaid (Health First Colorado) and the health plans available to state employees. Adding these options through Colorado’s health insurance exchange would lower premiums, stabilize markets, and increase choices by creating a public insurance program available to all Coloradans. The Health First Colorado buy-in portion of my plan creates a public option that will offer more affordable and comprehensive coverage when private carriers are too costly or unwilling to provide it. The best solution to fill the gap in coverage, cost, and accessibility in Colorado is a public option, offering more affordable choices without additional taxes, especially for rural Colorado where options are currently so limited.” Cary Kennedy for Governor

On the state’s health insurance exchange: “Colorado has made great gains under the ACA and Connect for Health Colorado is an important tool to provide choice. I believe that healthcare is a right and I will work toward universal healthcare coverage. Right now, too many Coloradans lack both affordable coverage and access to care. Premiums vary widely depending on where you live and there is a lack of providers, especially in rural communities.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

On a single-payer system: “Part of the reason that the voters rejected Amendment 69 by large margins is that they understood the logistical and financial challenges of single payer at the state level. I support Medicare for All at the federal level and believe that Congress should take action. However, there are no signs that any positive solutions will come out of DC. My plan for a state level public option is something that we can do here, without Congress. It is our best strategy to achieve universal healthcare coverage in Colorado.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

Greg Lopez

“As Governor, I will work closely with our state’s top health officials, our Congressional Delegation, and others to ensure we work together on the common goal of implementing a quality healthcare system for all of Colorado. …Along with being affordable it must be available and accessible through an efficient delivery system, regardless of your zip code. Of Colorado’s nearly 5.5 million residents, approximately 2.7 million of them live outside of the Denver-metro area, in less populous counties throughout our state’s vast 104,000 square miles. It is vital that our rural communities also have the medical facilities necessary to take care of our farmers and ranchers and surrounding citizens. Choices. Ease of access. Efficiency of use. My mission is to do everything in my power to have our state’s healthcare not become a burden to the very people it is designed to help.” Lopez for Governor

On the state’s health insurance exchange: “I would have to visit with a number of individuals before I would be able to ascertain any possible improvements. Colorado Connect is simply a platform by which people can go to compare health insurance plans and purchase a health insurance plan. It is important for people to understand that the exchange does not replace buying health insurance privately. I believe that having a central location for individuals to identify and select a type of health insurance plan that they feel best suits their needs is appropriate.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

On a single-payer system: “While Single-pay health care systems sound good, they do not effectively provide the type of care that most individuals are expecting. Case in point the Veterans Administration the only single-pay health care system in America today.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

Donna Lynne

I think health care is a right, not a privilege, and I support universal coverage and will fight to make it a reality for all Colorado families. Donald Trump wants to move us backwards by taking health care away from hundreds of thousands of Coloradans – this is wrong. As governor, I’m going to keep working to expand coverage, improve care, and lower costs.” Donna Lynne for Colorado

On the state’s health insurance exchange: “I’ve fought alongside Governor Hickenlooper to help save the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and to make improvements to it. …Connect for Health Colorado was started with bipartisan support and should continue to play an important role in our system, with the strong number of enrollments through the Exchange this past year proof of its success. But more must be done. As the Lt. Governor and Chief Operating Officer, I’ve worked on legislation to expand access, increase transparency, and make health care more affordable for all Colorado families. I think health care is a right, not a privilege, and I support universal coverage and will fight to make it a reality for all Colorado families. Washington wants to move us backwards by taking health care away from hundreds of thousands of Coloradans – this is wrong. As governor, I’m going to keep working to expand coverage, improve care, and lower costs.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

On a single-payer system: “I do not support a state level single-payer health care system. I support universal coverage, where all Coloradans have access to affordable, quality health insurance — and there are many different ways to achieve this goal.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

Victor Mitchell

Watch Mitchell’s video explaining his healthcare policy on his campaign website.

In The Colorado Independent’s candidate questionnaire, Mitchell said he would not support reintroducing a proposal for a single-payer healthcare system in Colorado, and that he is not in favor of keeping the state’s health insurance exchange. 

“[He] believes health insurance should largely be for specialty care and emergencies. ‘Somehow we’ve gotten it to, ‘Oh, insurance should cover everything,’ he says. As governor he would work to ‘immediately’ pull out of Colorado’s Obamacare exchange.” The Colorado Independent

Jared Polis

Let’s just get right down to it: Health care is a human right. Treating an illness or injury should never be a luxury afforded only to the wealthy few who can afford it. Your income, location, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, or current state of health should never be a barrier to receiving affordable, high-quality health care. I believe passionately in universal health care, and I always will.” Jared Polis for Colorado

On the state’s health insurance exchange: “Connect for Health Colorado has helped hundreds of thousands of Coloradans attain more affordable health insurance. For too many of our citizens in the high country, that has not been the case. While there is much work to do to bring universal, affordable, high-quality insurance to every Coloradan, getting rid of the exchange would only set us backward, and I will oppose efforts to do that. What we need is a governor who believes that healthcare is a fundamental right of all Coloradans, and I will not shy away from opposing any effort to dismantle the progress we made under President Obama’s leadership. Colorado deserves a health care system that prioritizes the care and of citizens over the profits of insurance companies.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

On a single-payer system: “I am a proud advocate for Medicare for All at the federal level, and have been since my very first run for Congress in 2008, when I won election to Congress on a platform of universal health care. In fact, I was proud to lead the fight for the public option when Congress passed the Affordable Care Act. As governor, I will continue to advocate for federal Medicare for All as the most affordable and effective means for all Coloradans to receive high-quality medical care that prioritizes citizens over profits. I will pursue innovative ideas like a multi-state consortium to bring universal health care to Colorado, and will fight for high-speed internet for every community in the state that doesn’t yet have it so that they can benefit from the technological marvels of telemedicine and telehealth. Health care is a human right, and I will treat like one as governor by supporting any proposal that gets us closer to our goals of reducing costs, improving quality, and expanding coverage in our health care system.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

Doug Robinson

In The Colorado Independent’s candidate questionnaire, Robinson said he would not support reintroducing a proposal for a single-payer healthcare system in Colorado. 

On the state’s health insurance exchange: “We need to get government out of the health insurance business and let Coloradans lead the way. The exchange simply increased bureaucracy and decreased provider choice. There are Coloradans around the state pursuing new, private healthcare models, like the Appleton Clinic in Grand Junction that could be game-changers for public health if we promoted them.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

Walker Stapleton

“Stapleton is campaigning on ending Colorado’s Obamacare exchange, which puts him on par with other Republicans running for governor. An effort to repeal that state exchange failed in the last legislative session where Democrats control the House and Republicans control the Senate.” The Colorado Independent

Erik Underwood

“I will work to expand Medicaid to the most vulnerable Colorado who need access to quality health care. We will make sure that our Coloradans are taken care of…Outward – Inward.” Underwood for Governor

I will treat the opioid epidemic here in Colorado as a disease, not as crime. I will work on both sides of the aisle to make sure Colorado has resources in place for treatment and other innovative ways to stop opioid deaths.”  —Underwood for Governor

On the state’s health insurance exchange: “We need better competition on these exchanges across state lines. I would work with the legislature and surrounding neighboring states to work out a solution to lower the cost on these exchanges.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

On a single-payer system: “First and foremost, I’m for universal health care. I am for a redo of Amendment 69. I would support and work in a bipartisan manner with the citizens of Colorado and the state legislature. I would look at reallocating cannabis tax revenue to fund Amendment 69 if it passed. I thought the tax proposal in the original proposal was to high and I think that the board should be appointed by the governor instead of elected with a charter set forth from the state legislature.” —The Colorado Independent candidate questionnaire

Photo credit: Presidencia de la República Mexicana, Creative Commons, Flickr