SQUEAKED ON: Bob Beauprez Makes the Ballot

The Republican primary ballot is now set.  Former Congressman Bob Beauprez has made the ballot, according to a press release by the Secretary of State’s office.  While some outlets are noting that he barely made the ballot, the campaign is pointing out that making the ballot is a feather in the cap of Beauprez’s campaign:

“Despite every political expert who said it couldn’t be done, we got it done – 22,500 signatures in 20 days. We are happy to be on the ballot and confident moving forward. This historic support for Bob proves that Colorado is hungry for strong effective leadership.”

Perhaps it is.  The campaign said that it only really started gathering signatures on March 12th and had to turn signatures in by March 31st.  While there has been speculation that the campaign spent somewhere in the ballpark of $350,000 to get on the ballot, sources close to the campaign said the true number is much lower.

As the primary stands, Bob Beauprez and Tom Tancredo made the ballot via petition and Scott Gessler and Mike Kopp are on the ballot via the assembly process.  The primary will be June 24.

 

SNOOZE ALERT: Romanoff Campaign Has Everyone Yawning

After careful consideration, we’ve decided that Andrew Romanoff is quite possibly running the most boring campaign of the year and perhaps ever.  Especially when you consider how competitive that race is supposed to be.

Exhibit A

A recent profile of Romanoff’s campaign in The Colorado Statesman details every mind-numbing aspect of the candidate’s day.  It includes useless tidbits like how he arrives first thing in the morning and brings his dog to work.  Basically, Romanoff sounds like everyone else we know with a job and a dog.  So interesting!  That kind of thing definitely wins elections.  Strategy schmadegy.

The profile also includes gushing quotes from Romanoff staff about how busy he allegedly is, and there is plenty of patting themselves on the back for working so hard.  Seriously?  For such a frenetic pace they’re keeping over there, we have yet to see anything really happen.  Are they just running circles around each other?

They’re obviously not too busy to draw illustrations on the office chalkboard.  See exhibit A.

We’ll try to give Romanoff the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his snore-fest of a campaign.  After all, he’s still trying to find his way around the neighborhood.  It’s stressful enough moving, but adding a campaign on top of that….

 

PEAKFEED: Colorado GOP’s “What’s Your GOP Story?” Campaign

For those who say that the Republican Party is behind the curve on digital media, the “What’s Your GOP Story” campaign may make you think twice.  Throughout the Republican state assembly, attendees were encourage to take pictures and post status updates on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with the #IVoteRepublican hashtag.  At the end of the day, the campaign had garnered over 1.8 million impressions.  Here’s what Colorado GOP chairman Ryan Call said about the effort:

“We have to do a better job of explaining what the Republican Party stands for; that’s why we started this campaign.  It’s clear that this campaign is already encouraging Coloradans from all walks of life to explain that to their friends, family and coworkers.”

Below is an example of one of the videos:

 

NOT DC: Greeley Tribune Gives Udall Some Home Cooking by Serving up Big Fat Meatballs

Wow Greeley Tribune, we here at the Peak are looking forward to when our teams play each other in the softball league; those big fat meatballs you tossed at liberal Senator Mark Udall make us wonder if you didn’t secretly rescue Allison Sherry away from her exile up north.  For example:

GT Question: So, senator, why are you out and about today?

Translation: So, senator, what propaganda can we spread for you today?

GT Question: It’s believed Gardner will hit you particularly hard on the Affordable Care Act. Do you think that’s warranted?

Translation: You know that little law you said wouldn’t cause Coloradans to lose their health insurance or doctors?  Yeah, forget about trying to answer those questions, we’d rather just let you spew some 100% pure BS to us on how you didn’t pass this monstrosity.

Alright, PeakNation™ you get the idea of how lazy of reporting was coming from The Greeley Tribune, but Udall needed a friendly reporter after he was getting mauled by the DC press.  We don’t think he’ll be that fortunate when he sits down across from The Durango Herald editorial board later this week.  Might we be of service and suggest some questions:

  1. Senator Udall, you were pushing hard this last week on equal pay, citing numerous times that Colorado women make less 80 cents an hour for every male dollar; yet, when this same context-free statistic is applied to your own staff, your female staffers only make 84 cents to every male staffer dollar; using such talking-point driven statistics makes us believe you don’t take this issue seriously and are only using it as a wedge issue, how do you respond? And, when can we expect you to pay your female staff appropriately?
  2. Senator Udall, back in November your staff had quite the disagreement with CDI over cancellation notices; come this fall when these plans no longer have an option to renew, will you and your staff finally feel that these people had their health insurance plans canceled?
  3. In a related follow-up: back in 2009 when you said Coloradans could keep their health insurance and doctor if they liked them, did you say this knowing full well they couldn’t or had you just not read the bill closely enough?  Did you understand what you were voting on?  Knowing what you know now, would you vote for Obamacare again?
  4. You’ve repeatedly said you are for an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, yet despite your fellow Colorado Senator Michael Bennet voting for it, and the State Department saying it would add no noticeable emissions, your staff told constituents that you are not in favor of the Keystone XL pipeline.  Are you really for an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy or is that just a political line you hide behind to protect your extreme environmentalist nature?  Does billionaire Steyer factor into this decision at all for you?
  5. Yes or no: will you campaign with President Obama?

Durango Herald-ites, feel free to call us in if you need help!

 

GUEST POST: Obamacare Poster Child

Las Animas County is Obamacare’s poster child. Obamacare purported to be about selling subsidized insurance through health exchanges. For all that hoopla, here’s the Colorado reality. Most growth of government-supported health care hasn’t been through private exchange coverage. Radical increases of the Medicaid numbers – right at one million total in our state – did happen.

Las Animas County had 2,128 on Medicaid in January. [h/t Steve Block, Trinidad Chronicle-News]. County DHS director Catherine Salazar also reported “other counties in Colorado were seeing similar increases in Medicaid caseload.”

Of Las Animas County’s 14,446 population, 4,344 (30% of the population) are on Medicaid. Medicare covers another 20% (minus some overlap). The state’s Obamacare exchange signed up a paltry 201 people in Las Animas County – fewer than its kids on CHP+ (239).

Las Animas County saw, on average, every single Medicaid patient at the ER once. Is this a rational way to provide care?

There are 25 beds in Mount San Rafael, the county’s only hospital. Voters last year rejected a tax increase for the hospital’s ER facility and other services.

Here’s the spooky thing about this Medicaid increase.

On average, of five Coloradans with ordinary insurance, one hits the ER. Ditto if there’s no insurance.  ER use more than doubles (44%) for Medicaid-covered Coloradans. (Probably because an ER visit is free under Medicaid, rather than requiring a hefty copay.)

I roughly estimate Colorado ER facilities will see an extra 100,000 visits. That’s FY 2015 compared to 2010 due to Medicaid expansion. Add in our 8.5% population growth.

Can Colorado’s emergency rooms handle this massive traffic boost? Where do needed docs and nurses come from?

When you take your child to the ER for a critical health need, how stressed will facilities’ caregivers be? Even assuming your child gets evaluated immediately? Our ER wait times are below the national average, but it’s still 244 minutes (2014 Report Card). That wait time will not shrink.

I promise you that it’s not just Mount San Rafael facing inundation. Nor only Las Animas County voters looking at higher taxes. Or seeing revenues diverted from schools and roads to healthcare needs.

Similar new burdens will hit physicians’ practices. Medicaid patients are just two-thirds as likely to get an appointment as a person with private coverage. And that helps explain their high Medicaid ER usage.

How do caregivers survive financially when they aren’t adequately paid? For most medical service categories – whether in the ER or physicians’ offices – JBC staff found “average reimbursement rates that were less than 80 percent of the Medicare rates.” (HCPF staff believes “the volume of Medicaid clients in Colorado is not great enough to significantly affect” at least some care decisions. Is that true even with a million on Medicaid?)

The feds paying most direct Medicaid enrollee costs for a few years doesn’t begin to cover this tidal wave.

POST SCRIPT

Of course, some of the Medicaid wave is about money (that we don’t have). But it is also about the overloaded admissions clerk after midnight. It’s about the nurse who scrambles to manage care and patients’ prescriptions. It’s about the hospital budget folks balancing different prices for exactly the same care, depending on who’s paying. Even a nonprofit hospital can go broke.

Ordinary Coloradans – who won’t have access to care – will be the truest losers in this destructive surge of “free” care.

 

WONDER NO MORE: Udall Says Nyet to Keystone XL

There has been much speculation swirling about whether liberal Sen. Mark Udall will support the building of the Keystone pipeline, which would provide energy security by bringing 800,000 barrels of oil to the United States each day as well as thousands of jobs.  Wonder no more.  Udall’s legislative aide, Carly Robinson, has put the kibosh on any hope of Udall supporting the Keystone Pipeline, according to a member of Vets4Energy, Tom McAdam, who visited with Robinson in early April.  Sen. Udall was not available to meet with McAdam.  Here’s his notes from the meeting, exclusively obtained by the Peak:

“Senator Mark Udall. Met with the Senator’s Energy LA Carly Robinson. Meeting was not very productive as Ms. Robinson stated that the Senator was an environmentalist and his views were incongruent with support of the Keystone XL. Ms. Robinson said that she was aware of the Heitkamp letter but would most likely not inform the Senator.”

While Udall’s meetings with uber-environmentalist Tom Steyer have indicated that he is not inclined to support Keystone – afterall, he needs the cash from Steyer for his uphill re-election campaign – he has never truly been candid with Coloradans in this fashion. But, what’s truly interesting is that Robinson would not pass on information to a Senator from one of his constituents.

Former chairman of the Colorado Democratic Party, Floyd Ciruli,summed up the broad support for the Keystone pipeline in The Denver Post last month:

Even before its recent environmental clearance, the pipeline has enjoyed national support during the last five years that it has been under debate. Pew Research and other credible national polls show broad support at or above 60 percent, including a majority of Democrats, based on a lack of evidence of a greenhouse gas effect, the desire for energy independence, and the project’s potential to boost the economy. Most recently, former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar endorsed it, along with a host of Senate Democrats vulnerable in re-election.

But, not Sen. Udall.  He’s siding with Steyer over Colorado.  It was suspected before, but determined by Udall’s LA and her unwillingness to even listen to his constituent.

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SEARCHING FOR AN EXIT?: Tancredo Departure from the Governor’s Race Not True

A KDVR report this morning outlined the lay of land in Colorado’s Republican gubernatorial primary.  Here’s who’s left: Bob Beauprez, Scott Gessler, Mike Kopp, and Tom Tancredo.  Relax, it’s in alphabetical order.  While we’re waiting to see if Beauprez makes the ballot and Kopp can transform the wind at his back into cash, a most interesting rumor popped up – KDVR is reporting that Tom Tancredo is considering a position as the Superintendent of Jeffco Schools.

This might be wishful thinking for some, but is Tancredo actually considering it?  PeakNation™, you may not know this, but Tancredo actually was a high school civics teacher for some time before launching his political career, so it’s not as random as one might think.  Here’s what unidentified Republicans that KDVR interviewed for the story think about the possibility:

“This would be a controversial hire, and I don’t know that it helps them accomplish what they want out there,” another Republican said. “Douglas County is the model for reforming schools and that board did it by picking its fights wisely and not courting unnecessary controversy.

“The Douglas County reformers never really gave their opponents anything extraneous to latch onto. For better or worse, ‘the Tanc’ has made a career of extraneous controversy….”

“…Tancredo is looking for a way out,” one said. “It isn’t just the party that would like him to get out; I have heard he needs a job and doesn’t relish going through a four-way primary.”

We’ve asked Tancredo to comment on the rumors.  Here’s what he said:

“Absolutely false. Joked that running the state of CO would be easier than running Jeffco schools. My guess this is someone (party insiders) wants to slow my momentum.”

So, there you have it PeakNation™, from the horse’s mouth.  Rumor is false.

 

SALT MEET WOUND: Individual Mandate Tax Will Begin to Hit Americans Today

We guess that Tax Day wasn’t enough of an f-you to the American people because today Obamacare’s teeth get even sharper.  Americans have already begun to feel the sting of Obamacare as they’ve watched their healthcare premiums increase – or worse, their plans get cancelled.  Now, millions of Americans are about to see their taxes go up under the individual mandate. 

It is the last day for individuals to sign up for health insurance coverage.  That means if you haven’t signed up for coverage by the end of today then you’re going to owe $95 or 1 percent of your income, whichever is greater, on next year’s tax bill. According to a recent study in the Wall Street Journal, the penalty is almost always more than $95, for example:

In a more common case — a married couple with two kids making $50,000 a year on the adjusted basis — the penalty for not having insurance could run about $300 a year. The same couple making $100,000 a year on this basis could be subject to a fine of about $800.

Those penalties will grow significantly larger in 2016, and young adults between 18 and 34 are going to get hit hard.   Colorado is no exception.  The Denver Post has well documented the problems facing young adults in Colorado trying to shop for affordable coverage.  Those reluctant to sign up for Obamacare over cost concerns are being forced to choose between insurance they can’t afford and a tax penalty that actually might be less money out of pocket.

So happy Tax Day Peak Nation™!  AND happy individual mandate day!  Anybody else want a shot?

 

ONE MORE THING: Dems Killed No-Brainer Amendment to Equal Pay Resolution

We wanted to take a quick moment to close the loop on the equal pay resolution in the state Senate last week.  When we left off on Thursday, Minority Leader Bill Cadman was attempting to tack on an amendment to the resolution that included Sen. Mark Udall and President Obama, both of whom pay their female staffers less than their male staffers.  Democrats laid the bill over until Friday hoping the frenzy of state assemblies would distract everyone from the fact that it had turned into an embarrassing episode for them.

Cadman’s amendment was ultimately killed, and it’s no wonder why.  At the end of the day, Democrats in the state legislature have more fealty to their party leadership than their own principles.  Udall was put on his heels when the media began questioning why he was advocating for a policy he didn’t personally adhere to when it came to his own staff.   The Senate’s resolution and Cadman’s amendment only served to further highlight Udall’s misogyny.

Heck, it wouldn’t surprise us if Udall’s staff made one of their infamous “hostile” phone calls to Majority Leader Morgan Carroll in an effort to persuade her to brush Cadman’s amendment under the rug.

 

JUDGE BY ACTIONS NOT WORDS: Udall’s Own Words Doom his Campaign

When your opponents can bury you with your own words, your political career is not long for this world.  Liberal Senator Mark Udall’s campaign team thought it’d be smart to tweet out a link to an old story on how much Udall is such a mountain climber (new drinking game: drink every time Udall mentions mountain climbing or Hickenlooper mentions beer or geology… just kidding – alcohol poisoning sucks!).  The problem with the story?  When Udall utters this line we bet he’d now wished he didn’t:

Udall said. “I’m much more inclined to look at what people do, as opposed to what they say.” [the Peak emphasis]

Oh, the irony.  Just this week Udall started a tour of Colorado, ironically called True to Colorado (from the man caught in “The Lie of the Year”?) where he hopes people pay attention to only his words and not his extremely liberal record of the past six years.  From the heights of hypocrisy, Udall has repeatedly tried these past few days to make this his motto:

“At the heart of freedom is the freedom to be left alone.”

First from his speech to the Democratic Assembly, to a campaign video, and finally in a tweet, Udall has been using this line.  Pretty words Udall, but like you said yourself, let’s examine your actions.  You’ve voted 99% of the time with Obama.  You want to pass more regulation on equal pay, when you yourself pay your female staff 84 cents to every male staff dollar.  You said yourself you were proud to cast the deciding vote on a bill that stripped 337,000 Coloradans of health insurance plans they liked, while making a drastic overhaul to an industry that is 1/6th of the entire United States economy:

“I look forward to casting that last vote.”

If you believe the heart of freedom is the freedom to be left alone, why were you proud to be the deciding vote on such an intrusive bill into the most private matters of Coloradans?

You took our health plans, you took our doctors, and you took our freedom to choose.  The only freedom you’ve left us is the freedom to be free of you.  Come November we’ll finally free ourselves to be left alone from you.

 
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