Govs. Hickenlooper, Kasich urge bipartisan effort to move forward on health care

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and Ohio Governor John Kasich say the next step toward changing the Affordable Care Act — after lawmakers failed to follow through on health care reform — should now include a bipartisan effort. 

“Let’s get a bipartisan group of people together, and include some governors, who are the guys who have to- the people who have to implement these plans, and look at how do we stabilize private markets, how do we, you know, deal with these high-cost pools, and what’s the best way,” Democratic Gov. Hickenlooper said on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday. 

“There are some basic remedial steps that can improve our health care system without having to throw everything out the window,” he added.

Hickenlooper noted that Americans will be “surprised” at the number of senators willing to “roll up our sleeves, and work on a bipartisan basis, and see how far we can go.”

Kasich, who has been collaborating with Hickenlooper in recent weeks, echoed Hickenlooper’s comments, saying that once lawmakers realize the system is “melting down,” he’s hopeful Congress can put aside their philosophical differences and provide a bipartisan solution.

“I think there is a hunger in the Congress at least in the Senate to try to do what they went to do, which is to solve problems. And you can’t solve immense, difficult problems without both sides,” Kasich said on Sunday. 

When asked what compromises both parties would likely be making in such a bipartisan effort, Kasich said Democrats may have to be willing to allow more choices in the insurance marketplace to help drive costs down, while Republicans will have to admit that “there’s going to be a group of people out there who are going to need help.”

When asked for specific ways in which a revised policy could include a bipartisan solution on the issue of individual mandates, Hickenlooper said, “The key here is to recognize that when you let healthy people not be part of the pool, you’re going to concentrate people with serious health issues, so much more expensive insurance risks, into the market. And that’s of course going to raise the cost for everyone.”

He added, “whether it’s a mandate or a reinsurance type pool, that’s where we can sit down.”

Kasich said that while differences may persist in Washington, putting aside which party “wins” in the end could help ensure a successful outcome. 

“If you don’t worry about which party gets the credit or which politician gets the credit, it can work,” he said. “Now, I can’t guarantee you that Hickenlooper and I are going to agree on this, but I’m hopeful.”

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