Cory Gardner wants to get rid of Obamacare. But it’s not clear what he plans to replace it with. |

Cory Gardner wants to get rid of Obamacare. But it’s not clear what he plans to replace it with.

The Republican senator from Colorado talks more often about what he doesn’t want -- Obamacare, a public option, Medicare For All -- than his ideas on how to achieve his goals of driving down costs and improving care

Jesse Paul / Colorado Sun
U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, attends a news conference with Olympians and Democratic U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver, to announce legislation to create a U.S. Olympic Committee oversight panel. The news conference was held on June 17, 2019, at DeGette's offices in Denver.
Jesse Paul / Colorado Sun

Cory Gardner doesn’t like Obamacare.

Ask the Republican senator from Colorado about how to improve health care and the first response you’re likely to hear is that President Barack Obama’s signature 2010 Affordable Care Act needs to be repealed. It’s “destroying this country,” he once said.

Ask Gardner for his plans to replace the law, however, and his response will probably be more about what he’s against — Democratic proposals for a public health insurance option or “Medicare for All” — than what he’s working toward.

“Democrats want to replace the Affordable Care Act with socialized medicine,” Gardner said in an interview. “I don’t want that.”

But if Gardner and congressional Republicans have a better idea, they haven’t shared it. 

President Donald Trump has spoken of coming legislation, but part of the problem has been GOP infighting over how to move forward. That killed the party’s chance to unwind the Affordable Care Act in 2017, as they’d vowed to do for years, when Republicans took control of Congress and the White House. “We haven’t kept our promise,” Gardner said last year. 

Gardner can identify goals for the replacement legislation, but not exactly what it would do. Still, he says, America doesn’t need Obamacare to have a functioning health care system. 

“This is not a zero-sum game,” Gardner said. “It is not the ACA or nothing. We can have, and have been working on, a plan to reduce costs and increase the quality of care. That’s what I will continue to work on.”

Democrats see the lack of a Republican health care plan as a liability for Gardner and are working to make sure voters know about the gap heading into November. They are making health care a top issue in Colorado’s 2020 U.S. Senate race, in which Gardner faces a difficult path to reelection. 

To read the rest of the Colorado Sun, click here.

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