Endorsements: For U.S. Senate, only one candidate has right stance on health care

Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020 7:56 PM

On the most significant issue facing Americans, access to properly priced health insurance and medical care, Senate candidate John Hickenlooper easily deserves support. Hickenlooper is not a Medicare for All proponent, but we hear him say that the answers to coverage and delivery lie in an improved Affordable Care Act.

Incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner, on the other hand, clings to longtime notions of the cure lying with cross-state line and common employment plans and medical savings accounts. Those ingredients, which would have been somewhat helpful in pre-ACA days, would fail to bring the breadth and depth needed to give Americans the coverage and bill paying they deserve.

Coverage should be portable and not based on employment, nor should health care bills bring families to bankruptcy.

The Affordable Care Act, which made it possible for millions to gain insurance, is not perfect. Hickenlooper would work to improve and expand it, while Gardner would vote to toss it out with no successor plan. The solutions do not lie in returning to pre-ACA.

Gardner has energetically worked for the residents of Colorado during his term in the Senate. He has pushed for banking solutions for the marijuana industry and advocated for more immigration than Washington leadership has wanted. Because of Republican Party support for his re-election, there have been winners in conservation, including the very significant Great American Outdoors Act signed in August.

That Gardner is a University of Colorado law school-educated member of the fifth generation of a northeastern Colorado ranching family does mean something.

But the Herald’s editorial board likes, as it has before, Hickenlooper’s roots in business. His brewpub, done collaboratively with other nearby business owners, brought economic vitality to several blocks of downtown Denver and added to the craft beer industry statewide.

He served as Denver’s mayor. As governor, he oversaw the creation of improved oil and gas exploration rules by conversation and negotiation rather than by force. The state’s first water plan, with more negotiation, was another badly needed product. Colorfully unconventional at times to illustrate a point, Hickenlooper drank fracking fluid to show that it wasn’t harmful and followed that up with a drink from the Animas River after the Gold King Mine spill had passed by.

While Hickenlooper would be a leader in moving the country toward more renewable fuels and conservation, he has firmly said he is not an advocate for the extreme Green New Deal. While Colorado became greener, Hickenlooper supported fracking, recognizing the jobs and taxes that went with it.

Adding another Democrat to that party’s side of the aisle in Washington would help break the current Senate logjam, which is desirable. Hickenlooper would be helpful by envisioning the future and bringing his penchant for applying negotiations and moderate positions that made him good for Colorado. We endorse John Hickenlooper for U.S. Senate.