PERRY: Sen. Gardner got busted representing his party and donors, not Coloradans when it comes to health care reform


On Sunday, Colorado GOP Sen. Cory Gardner added insult to injury by working hard to deceive and inflict serious harm on Colorado for the sake of his political party.

First Gardner was caught by the New York Times last week telling fellow Republicans that the GOP failure to kill Obamacare is wreaking havoc with political donations for re-election campaigns. Then he tried to tell constituents and the nation during a Sunday news show that the rush to pass a failing GOP health-care bill  — which would provably hurts millions of Colorado residents  — has nothing to do with politics.

On CBS’s Face the Nation Sunday, TV journalist John Dickerson asked Gardner how he could paint his being outed by the Times —  telling GOP senatorial election colleagues they’re in trouble during mid-term elections next year unless they pass a repeal bill — could be anything but politics at its worst.

“Well, this has nothing to do with politics,” Gardner said, standing inexplicably in front of a row of tractors in what looks to be his family tractor-sales business in Yuma. “It has nothing to do with donors. It has everything to do with the people of this country who are suffering each and every day under a health-care bill that is failing to meet their needs, that’s bankrupting them. I meet with countless people across the state of Colorado, all four corners here, who are basically paying a second mortgage every month to afford their insurance, to pay for their insurance that they can’t actually afford to use.”

I’ll agree with the last part. The Obamacare policy I pay half of at work sucks. I not only pay “mortgage” like premiums, but the few times I’ve actually used the policy for really minor stuff, I pay not only more, but lots more. Lots, lots more. If there’s a line forming for those who say the Affordable Care Act is anything but affordable to middle class Americans like me, find me at the front.

But Gardner commits the political equivalent of criminal fraud when to uses what he hears from constituents like me to say he’s supporting any of the GOP measures so far, and especially this last one. Every single one of those malevolent GOP repeal-and-replace plans provably, indubitably would make the untenable Obamacare problems worse. Much worse. Much, much, much worse.

That consistent and relentless message comes from just about every medical association in the country, with the American Medical Association at the front of the parade. Just about every organization representing older and retired Americans, like the AARP? They’ve issued blistering warnings of how the Graham-Cassidy bill, even more than the last two failed GOP repeal attempts, would be disastrous for middle-aged Americans. The hospitals, the insurance companies, the consumer advocates have all overwhelmingly said “no” and “for the love of God, no” for how the GOP wants to handle health-care reform. The only winners in any constituency would be Republicans being able to get their base off their backs.

“‘Donors are furious,’ one person knowledgeable about the private meeting quoted Mr. Gardner as saying,” according to the New York Times. “We haven’t kept our promise.”

Now you tell me Gardner’s unceasing support of repeal bills that will demonstrably hurt Colorado residents, and maybe even kill them, has, “nothing to do with politics.”

I don’t even care if Gardner owns up to his pathetic and aggravating deception after being caught red-handed fretting over Republican seats in Congress during next year’s mid-term election. And I don’t care if he apologizes for doubling down on his nonsensical mendacity after being busted and outed. I just want him to stop.

The reason Obamacare was created in the first place was because the cost and problems associated with the American health-care system were untenable. If you’ve so quickly forgotten, it was standard operating procedure for insurance companies to take your money until you got sick and then kick you to the side of the road. With more and more Americans getting sick, and insurance rates going through the roof, something had to change. Nobody is arguing that Obamacare is affordable. It is not affordable for the state, for businesses, for Coloradans, for the country, nor for me. I have no unrealistic expectations about a fast, easy and perfect solution. But there’s something better then this, and something far better than the provable craziness that Gardner keeps coyly supporting.

Gardner and his ilk needs to stop sucking up to a political base that is nothing but a miserable and ill-informed vocal minority. He needs to listen to all of his constituents, to the experts and to the voice of reason.

But first, he’s got to start telling the truth, and now would be a good time.

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