We had high hopes for Tim Hoover. After helping lead the way on ending the mainstream media honeymoon for Governor Hickenlooper, with tough articles on his wasteful spending and inability to make decisions, Hoover has suddenly swallowed Hick's talking points on Medicaid reform.
In Hoover's coverage of the Medicaid debate, his pieces increasingly read more like Op-Eds than real reporting.
Well Hickenhoover, we have a few examples you might want to dig into to better inform your (normally solid) reporting.
Governor Hickenlooper keeps using the phrase "there is no magic wand," and the press dutifully reports it without analysis, as if that alleviates the need to look into the option of a federal Mediaid waiver.
Despite Hick's protestations that a waiver is not possible, reality provides a stark contrast.
A year ago Democrat Governor of Washington state, Christine Gregoire, had a Medicaid waiver approved by the federal government.
That waiver essentially converted Medicaid into a block grant program, or capped federal matching funds, that will allow Washington state to better manage the ballooning costs to state government.
A similar waiver was also approved for Rhode Island in 2009. According to a report by the Common Sense Policy Roundtable on Medicaid reform, since the implementation of the waiver, projected Medicaid spending declined from $3.8 billion to $2.7 billion.
In Colorado in the last ten years Medicaid spending has more than doubled from $2.3 billion in '00-01 to $4.9 billion '10-11.
With Medicaid spending growing out-of-control, other budget items, mostly education, are getting axed.
The bill requesting a Medicaid waiver is being sponsored by state Senator Greg Brophy (R-Wray), who told the Peak: "Either we reform Medicaid or we continue to cut funding for education. This isn't a philosophical argument; it's the recognition of a math problem."
On education cuts, Hickenlooper has said he is "not happy" and "[doesn't] see a way to get around it."
Well, Governor, a Medicaid waiver would be one way.
Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman has said Medicaid spending is a "tumor" on the state budget.
As Medicaid waivers in other states have proven to turn that tumor from malignant to benign, why is the press and Governor Hickenlooper so seemingly opposed to exploring that option?