The Home Front: Is Medicaid really the hungry, hungry hippo of Colorado’s budget?

“Among Republican candidates to be Colorado’s next governor, a common argument has emerged: Medicaid spending in Colorado, driven upward by the Affordable Care Act, is unsustainable,” reports The Denver Post. “Victor Mitchell talks about it in a campaign video. Doug Robinson references the concern on his website. George Brauchler spoke of it at the Western Conservative Summit last month: “We have lost the ability to prioritize any spending in our budget for roads, for education in rural areas because of what we’ve done with Obamacare,” Brauchler said. ‘It has gobbled up so much of our budget.’ Is Medicaid really eating the rest of the state budget alive? And could the state move large sums of money to other priorities by slashing Medicaid spending? The answers are complicated — some yes and some no. Let’s dig in.”

“Amid allegations of embezzlement, an effort is underway in the Town of Rockvale to recall the mayor and board of trustees,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. Rockvale, which has a population of just less than 500 people, also is facing a pending employment lawsuit filed by the former town clerk, Kimberly Greer. The allegations stem from proceeds made at “MudFest,” a two-day truck-driving event hosted in Rockvale. Community members seeking to recall the board allege that a trustee, Heather Criner, misused funds made during the event and did not document ticket sales.”

“Air Force fans no longer will have to wait for the singing of the Third Verse to raise a toast at Falcon Stadium,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “The academy announced Thursday that alcohol sales will be introduced at the stadium during football games this season. Beer and wine will be sold in two sections, with fans allowed to take the drinks back to their seats. This will make Air Force the first service academy to allow the sale of alcohol at football games, though the practice is common in the Mountain West.”

“Greeley’s municipal judge was removed from the bench Wednesday after the Weld County Sheriff’s Office produced a summons against her for official misconduct,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Judge Brandilynn Nieto, who has been Greeley’s municipal judge since 2012, has been charged with official misconduct, a misdemeanor, after the Weld sheriff’s office investigation. She was removed from the bench and put on paid administrative leave. According to Cpl. Matt Turner of the Weld County Sheriff’s office, Nieto “used her position to have some of her employees go online and make comments that would benefit a local company.” Turner did not provide the name of the company, or any other information, and stated that the case may be turned over to the Larimer County District Attorney because of jurisdictional issues. Because of that, he said he couldn’t release many details.”

“Ernest Ricehill remembers the first time he realized that he might be alive to see a total solar eclipse,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “Ricehill, a 68-year-old Rifle resident, spent his summers as a teenager inhaling books on astronomy at the library in Sioux City, Iowa. He was 14 years old when he saw the date of the next total solar eclipse in the United States — 
Aug. 21, 2017. “I thought, ‘I hope I’m still alive to see it then,’ ” Ricehill said. “I’ve been waiting a long time.” Ricehill will be one of millions of people who are expected to travel to see the total solar eclipse, which will cut along a 60-mile-wide path across the United States.”

“Lower-powered electric pedal-assist bicycles, or e-bikes, will be allowed on the lower section of the Rio Grande Trail during the upcoming 95-day Grand Avenue bridge detour — and even beyond, as it turns out,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority board on Thursday, after significant discussion and public input, agreed on a 6-2 vote to allow Class 1 and 2 e-bikes on the Rio Grande between Glenwood Springs and the Catherine Store Road gate east of Carbondale during the Glenwood bridge closure that starts Monday.”

“Emergency responders drew the attention of residents at Ashley Estates apartment complex on Eden Garden Drive in north Loveland twice this week,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “On Tuesday night around 9:30 p.m., a Loveland Police Department SWAT team was called to the apartment to apprehend a man who had allegedly threatened a woman with a firearm.”

“The Fort Collins man whose body was discovered in his apartment last week was stabbed to death, according to the Larimer County Coroner’s Office,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “William “Bill” Grabusky, 65, died of a stab wound of the chest July 23, the coroner’s office announced Thursday. He died 10 days before police discovered his body while responding to check on his welfare at the request of his wife.”

“Crestone Peak Resources’ bid to develop 216 drilling wells along Boulder County’s eastern reaches could be realized as soon as 2019, company officials indicated Thursday,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “A clearer timeline has emerged for the Denver-based operator’s comprehensive drilling plan — a thorough proposal to develop a 12-square-mile oil field near U.S. 287 and Colo. 52 between Longmont and Lafayette — since it first came to light in March. The company will release an “information package” containing all “conceptual and preliminary” drilling plan elements — including a detailed map of where certain wells, pipelines and roads used to develop the oil field will be located on the site — to the public by the end of September, according to a schedule recommended by the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission.”



  1. Lower the cost of Medicaid. More than 60% of the annual medical costs- amounting to billions of dollars every year- of smoking diseases and secondhand smoke, including pediatric exposure*, is paid for by government programs like Medicaid **. Medicaid is healthcare welfare, even when Medicaid patients are children and/or middle-class, and smokers on Medicaid must do their part to be healthier- plus stop making children around them ill- by quitting. Any assistance that requires the recipient to first give information about their income and/or assets is welfare. *World Health Organization, Tobacco Fact sheet Updated May 2017
    **Am J Prev Med. 2015 Mar;48(3):326-33.
    Annual healthcare spending attributable to cigarette smoking: an update.
    Xu X, et al
    In addition, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson must immediately implement the HUD public housing smoking ban and strictly enforce it. Everyday smoking and vaping are being banned in more and more apartment buildings.
    Practically every smoker grew up reading, watching and listening to some of the many print, radio, TV and other public service announcements warning us not to smoke, but they did it anyway. Now the first priority is to protect the health of clean air breathers who heeded the warnings but are now victims in their own homes of neighbors who assault them on a daily basis with secondhand smoke. States and cities must make it illegal to possess and use tobacco smoking materials and e-cigarettes, due to the toxic emissions and fire dangers from both, in ALL multi-unit housing, not just public housing under the jurisdictions of HUD, colleges, universities and schools.
    There is no constitutional right to smoke because the U.S. Constitution does not give special protection to smokers. The Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution does not include smokers as a protected class. Smoking is not a specially protected liberty right under the U.S. Constitution Due Process Clause and smoking is not included in the right to privacy.
    “The American Lung Association estimates that smoking costs the American economy over $175 billion (per year) in direct medical care for adults..Since the Congressional Budget Office [CBO] estimates that Obamacare would cost… just under $140 billion/yr… reducing smoking could cover the entire cost of any new health plan – including many times over the costs attributable to pre-existing conditions – without using taxpayers’ money, or imposing higher insurance rates on the great majority of Americans who do not smoke…since neither Obamacare nor any of the major Republican approaches to change it actually reduce health-care costs, but rather simply try to shift the huge existing burden, doing something like reducing smoking may be the only way to reduce health-care costs which are now imposed on policy holders, taxpayers, medical device makers, and others..The best and most effective way to attack the health-care cost crisis is to recognize that so much of it is caused by smoking, and to start imposing… responsibility on the fifteen percent of American adults who continue smoking, expecting nonsmokers to absorb the cost, subsidize their insurance, etc…” (Smokers Continue to Cost All of Us More Than All Of Obamacare, JOHN BANZHAF, July 29, 2017, ValueWalk. Banzhaf is founder of Action on Smoking and Health)

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