Rep. Ken Buck meets with progressive group, touts free market health care
April 9, 2017
Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., defended Medicaid block grants and criticized federal inefficiency in a meeting with a local progressive group Saturday morning at Evans City Hall, 1100 37th St., Evans.
More than 30 people, mostly members of the progressive group, Greeley Indivisible, filled the council chambers to share their health care stories and questions with Buck. While constituents showed support for systems such as universal health care, Buck said the federal government must leave it to the states.
"I haven't seen any program run by the federal government, and that includes the military, that runs efficiently," he said.
Buck said he supports block grants for Medicaid, giving states the authority to make health care decisions. Block grants would provide a set amount that isn't adjusted to how many people are eligible for Medicaid. Mitzi Moran, CEO of Sunrise Community Health, 2930 11th Ave., Evans, said block grants can be a cause for concern.
"In essence you go from 100 people receiving $100 to 200 people now trying to use the $100 to provide services," she said. "Can they be designed to have some automatic growth in them? Can they be designed to address recession periods? I think that's all possible, so it depends on how they're put together."
When constituents shared stories about pre-existing conditions, Buck said he knows this issue better than most. Buck was treated for lymphoma in 2013 and has been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
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"I understand pre-existing conditions," he said, calling it "unconscionable" for insurance companies to drop people who are diagnosed with pre-existing conditions.
Buck said every plan he has seen in meetings with Republicans covers pre-existing conditions, dismissing claims to the contrary as "rumors."
Citing anti-smoking campaigns as an example, Buck said he would support more educational programming about topics such as nutrition to reduce the burden on the health care system. He blamed lobbyists for compromising the accuracy of food pyramids and other educational nutrition resources. He also decried health care providers' exception from antitrust laws, allowing them to fix prices.
Deb Bennett Woods, who moderated the meeting, is on Greeley Indivisible's health care subcommittee. She said she better understands where Buck is coming from, even if she doesn't agree with him.
"Our goal was to get away from some of the ideology and get into what people are actually experiencing out here, and what it really means at the individual level of the citizen when they have these ideological battles over policies that affect the very foundations of us as a society," she said. "I think we accomplished that."