BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
Asked if he supports Medicare for all, U.S. Rep. Jason Crow answered, “Health care is a right, not a privilege” He believes we should create an expanded version of Medicare and “put it into the individual marketplace” to compete with other plans. Crow thinks “we can build bipartisan support” around that idea. He also noted that the government needs to address out-of-control prescription drug prices.
Crow was joined onstage at Littleton High School on September 15 by state Reps. Meg Froelich and Tom Sullivan. Froelich added that the state passed HB 19-1168 to create a way to remove the sickest patients from the insurance pool, paying their claims through a re-insurance program. This plan could save 18-22 percent on the cost of premiums to other insureds. Sullivan pointed to HB19-1269, which he sponsored, that brings parity to coverage of physical and mental health.
On the question of climate change, Crow said, “This is the existential threat that we are facing as a planet and as humanity.” Reminding constituents of one of his consistent concerns during and since the 2018 election, he said, “One of the reasons we aren’t getting anything done on this and other issues is dark money.” He also talked about his sponsorship of HR 9, the Climate Action Now Act, which, according to congress.gov “requires the President to develop and update annually a plan for the United States to meet its nationally determined contribution under the Paris Agreement on climate change. Specifically, the plan must describe steps to (1) cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26%-28% below 2005 levels by 2025, and (2) confirm that other parties to the agreement with major economies are fulfilling their announced contributions. In addition, the bill prohibits federal funds from being used to withdraw from the agreement.”
Crow also said that as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, he is working to make the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) a leader in sustainability and renewable energy. Crow shared that DOD is the single largest consumer of fossil fuels in the world.
Froelich and Sullivan agreed that addressing climate change and the environment were at the top of the list of their caucus at the state level. Said Froelich, “Our greatest challenge is single occupancy traditional vehicles.”
Asked what can be done in Congress to get votes on issues that are important to people if committee chairs don’t want them to be heard, Crow said, “New rules allow that to happen if a bill has a certain level of support.”
On impeachment, Crow pointed to an op-ed he wrote that was cited in the Denver Post on July 31. He supports an impeachment inquiry, saying “It’s important that we maintain the rule of law. This administration is preventing its members and others from responding to lawful House subpoenas, upsetting the system of checks and balances.” He shared that House committees just issued new rules and more subpoenas are coming.
On the subject of school safety, Sullivan suggested that schools might adopt the model being used at football stadiums and require clear bags instead of traditional backpacks. Froelich talked about a program in the Littleton Public Schools that is pairing families with private mental health professionals and even paying for their services if necessary.
On infrastructure, Crow talked about the need for a federal bill and reminded the audience that “President Trump asked for $2 trillion for infrastructure because he liked the sound of that number, then walked away” from the agreement and has not done anything since.
At the state level, Froelich recommended people vote for Referendum CC, which will allow the state to retain excess TABOR funds to be used for transportation, as well as K-12 education and public colleges and universities in our state.
We asked Crow if he was endorsing anyone in the Colorado U.S. Senate race and he deferred, referring to the process in place to select a candidate. He agreed that the current Democratic debate structure had flaws, but like most, didn’t have a ready alternative.
On a positive note, Crow told The Villager that what surprised him most about Washington, D.C. was that there is much work done on a bipartisan basis in the House that isn’t reported much publicly.
The event was moderate by Dr. Bobby Pace, a dean at Community College of Aurora, who has filled this role in previous Crow town halls.
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