With Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner on record as saying nothing about Obamacare since well before the pandemic hit America–and Republicans in Washington pressing their case in the U.S. Supreme Court to have the national health care law overturned–activists stood outside of Gardner’s office in downtown Denver today and asked, “Where’s Gardner now?”
“He is busy helping McConnell appoint right-wing judges who want to get rid of our health care,” said Marie Aberger, with Cut the Strings/Rocky Mountain Values, a progressive advocacy group that organized the event.
Other speakers echoed Aberger’s comments, describing what they see as Gardner’s multi-pronged strategy to kill Obamacare, by voting to repeal it seven times, by backing over a dozen federal judges who want to overturn the health care law, and by implicitly or explicitly backing the Trump Administration’s orders to weaken and undermine the law.
Today, speakers lamented, Gardner is silent as Republicans submit their case to the Supreme Court to overturn the law.
Behind the speakers, participants held a familiar cardboard cutout of Gardner as well as a newly minted cardboard rendition of Sen. Mitch McConnel of Kentucky. Others dressed as judges, who are anti-Obamacare and were backed by Gardner.
Gardner’s most in-depth comment on this lawsuit came last August, when a Hill reporter asked him if he supported it, “That’s the court’s decision,” Gardner responded. “If the Democrats want to stand for an unconstitutional law, I guess that’s their choice.”
Eliminating Obamacare during the pandemic would strip health care from hundreds of thousands of Coloradans, multiple speakers said.
“We are urging Senator Gardner not just to oppose this lawsuit and support the Affordable Care Act but to add additional money to Medicaid so that Colorado can recover from COVID-19,” said Adam Fox, Director of Strategic Engagement for the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, pointing out that the pandemic will likely cause an additional half-million Coloradans to need Medicaid, the federal-state health insurance program for low-income people.
“This is not a time we can afford to be taking coverage away from people,” Fox added.
“Many of us would not survive if we lose our health care,” said cancer survivor Laura Packard.
There was widespread frustration at the event for Gardner’s silence on the issues and invisibility in the community.
“I cannot even count how many times I have been outside this building, how many times I have chased Cory Gardner down the street, trying to ask him a question, trying to hold him accountable for the things that he says and then the things that he actually does,” said Justine Sandoval, Statewide Engagement Manager for Cobalt Colorado, formerly NARAL Colorado.