DENVER (AP) – Colorado Republicans aren’t happy with a health care law promoted by some of their own leaders in the state Legislature.
In a platform resolution whose results were announced Monday, Republicans at the state GOP convention voted overwhelmingly to seek repeal of the Colorado Health Benefits Exchange.
The exchange is a marketplace for health insurance and was supported by business groups and Republican leaders in the Legislature. But the exchange has riled many conservatives because private insurance exchanges are required under the new federal health care law.
“Any time you have what you call a private industry solution coming from a government agency, it sets off alarm bells,” said Ken Clark of Longmont, a conservative who wrote the platform resolution. Clark is Colorado field director for the FreedomWorks group and host of a conservative Denver talk-radio show on Grassroots Radio.
The platform resolution vote does not affect public policy, nor does it reflect the opinion of all Republicans. But the health exchange vote could be another portent of danger for Republican lawmakers who supported it.
The exchange was sponsored by House Republican Leader Amy Stephens, who now faces a primary challenger who backed an unsuccessful effort earlier this year to repeal the exchange.
Stephens declined to comment on the exchange vote before results were announced, and she didn’t immediately return a call for comment Monday evening after the results were posted.
Political platform votes don’t mean the party leadership supports an idea, and conventions are routinely stuffed with hot-button policy questions that may not reflect the opinions of everyone in the party.
Still, platform resolutions can be telling guides to the questions that Democratic and Republican activists consider important. Mixed in with no-brainer positions many associate with either party often lie indications of where some in the party would like to head.
Along with the Republican vote on the health exchange, party activists also signed off on resolutions to seek a guest worker program for immigrants and to withhold citizenship from natural-born residents whose parents aren’t in the country legally. Republicans voted on two abortion-related measures – they both approved a resolution that life begins and fertilization and also that “abortion and birth control are personal and private matters.”
On marijuana, Republicans rejected legalization. They also said that medical marijuana dispensaries should be closed.
The positions were among those in contrast to a platform adopted the same day by Democrats, who approved hundreds of platform resolutions on everything from health care to foreign policy at their convention last weekend in Pueblo.
Two of the Democrats’ platform positions raised eyebrows – a suggestion to decriminalize the possession of drugs without the intent to sell, and support for a marijuana legalization measure headed to Colorado voters this fall.
State Democratic Party spokesman Matt Inzeo pointed out that the platform vote was simply a temperature vote by state convention goers, not an endorsement from the party itself.
But Colorado’s Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol claimed victory Monday after hearing the resolution passed. If approved by voters, the ballot measure would make marijuana legal for recreation use by adults over 21.
Campaign organizer Mason Tvert called the party’s support “exciting news.” But party spokesman Matt Inzeo pointed out that the proposed Democratic platform was adopted in its entirety and that each resolution was not debated.
– By Kristen Wyatt, AP Writer
LINK: GOP Platform Votes
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