June 2024


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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Penry and Lundberg letter opposing Ritter executive order

Press Release: Colorado Senate Republicans

Not ones to shy away from rabble-rousing, Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, and Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud sent a strongly worded letter to Gov. Bill Ritter opposing an executive order creating a new panel that would implement provisions of the recently approved federal health care takeover. The letter, which follows, was signed by 10 other members of the Senate GOP caucus.

Dear Governor Ritter,

We are writing to express our opposition to the Executive Order you issued this afternoon creating a new panel that would implement provisions of the recently approved federal health care takeover. We believe doing so would be both unwise and unconstitutional, and hope you will work with the General Assembly on enabling legislation rather than simply imposing a framework unilaterally through fiat.

The Denver Post reported today that this panel will “guide the transition to a new health system – everything from setting up a state insurance exchange to….such things as which agency should run the insurance exchange and how to expand health care coverage….” To grant such sweeping authority to a handful of “experts” usurps the legislative powers of the General Assembly and – like the federal health care bill itself – raises serious legal and constitutional questions. And while we can certainly understand why some Democrat lawmakers might prefer an executive order over the prospect of casting unpopular health care related votes, we believe the people’s elected representatives deserve a say in these important questions.

Health care reform is a complex and controversial issue. The public is entitled to more than an edict from the Governor, an afternoon photo opportunity and a flashy press release. At the very least, they deserve an open debate about how Obamacare will affect our state (The Heritage Foundation, for example, recently determined that federal legislation will cost Colorado some $850 million over the next few years), and how we can protect Colorado patients and pocketbooks from its most onerous provisions.

One chief complaint we heard again and again during the health care debate was about process. White House and Congressional leaders disregarded public opinion and rejected public input in their headlong rush to pass the bill – eventually using a special procedure to gain approval of the unpopular proposal. Rather than replicating this Washington-style backroom approach to health care reform in Colorado, we hope you will rescind the order in favor of working with the legislature through the normal democratic process to find solutions that work for Colorado.

Click here to read the letter and view all 12 signatories.

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