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Health Care - John Hickenlooper for U.S. SenateSkip to main content Enable accessibility for visually impaired Open the accessibility menu Skip to content CHIP IN $10 TO SUPPORT JOHN HICKENLOOPER >> CHIP IN $10 TO SUPPORT JOHN HICKENLOOPER >> Home Meet John Español Facebook-f Twitter Instagram Spotify Donate Now Donate Now Health Care My Plan to Fight for a Healthier Future for All Coloradans INTRODUCTION Health care is a right, not a privilege. No matter where you live, who you are, or how much you earn, you deserve high-quality, affordable health care. As a nation, we have repeatedly fallen short of this aspiration.  Unlike Senator Cory Gardner, I believe universal coverage is possible—and necessary. As governor, I expanded Medicaid to an additional 400,000 Coloradans. I also established our successful state exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, which allowed individuals to compare plans for quality and affordability. In the process, we cut the uninsured rate by nearly two-thirds. All told, 500,000 Coloradans got health insurance due to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in our state, and we reached nearly ninety-five percent coverage statewide. No doubt, we still have challenges to address, and COVID-19 has exposed how fragile our health care system really is. We should be outraged that people of color are more likely to die from COVID-19 than white Americans. We should be outraged that nurses are wearing trash bags to work because their hospital has run out of PPE. We should be outraged that overwhelmed labs can take over [DATE REMOVED] to return a test, rendering the result essentially meaningless. And we should be outraged that Washington Republicans have presaged this failure by proposing over 70 measures to repeal the ACA, rather than addressing the cracks in the system that are all too apparent.  Senator Gardner has voted at least a dozen times to repeal, block, or defund the ACA and could gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions. He supports President Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court lawsuit that could overturn the law in the middle of a pandemic. He doesn’t have a plan to protect access to health care. So I’m offering mine. As your senator, I will fight every day to improve access to quality care. I will protect coverage for pre-existing conditions. I will fight to cut the cost of prescription drugs. I will expand mental health and substance misuse recovery services. And I will strengthen our vital social safety net programs including CHIP, Medicare, and Medicaid. More equitable, affordable, accessible health care is possible. COVID-19 has exposed how far we have to go to realize this goal. Time to get to work. BUILD ON THE ACA Establish a National Public Option: If elected to the U.S. Senate, I will support a federally-administered public health insurance option. Millions of Americans enjoy their employer-based or marketplace-based insurance, and they should be able to keep their plans. But for the millions who are uninsured, under-insured, or paying a disproportionate share of their income on coverage, a public option could be transformative. Not only could it make benefits more portable — enabling people to maintain their policy when switching jobs or starting a small business — but it could increase marketplace competition, lower costs across the system, and close gaps in coverage.  Undo a Decade of Damage: The ACA was a watershed moment in our nation’s health. For the first time, insurers could no longer deny coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions or charge women higher premiums than men. The law allowed young people to stay on their parents’ plan until age twenty-six, banned lifetime caps on coverage, and made mental health, prescription drugs, and preventive care required benefits.  In the decade since the law passed, Republicans, including Senator Gardner, dedicated themselves with singular focus to repealing the ACA. When that proved unsuccessful, they joined forces with President Trump to sabotage the law’s coverage gains. His administration shortened the enrollment period, destabilized risk pools, promoted junk plans, canceled ninety percent of funding for outreach efforts, and filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court that could strip millions of Americans — many with pre-existing conditions — of their health insurance.  In essence, Republicans removed the engine from the car and then campaigned on why it wouldn’t drive. Senator Gardner still advocates for repealing the ACA, even in the middle of this pandemic. As your senator, I will work to immediately roll back these Republican-led efforts to prevent people from obtaining coverage. You can count on me to improve the ACA—not dismantle it. Address Unintended Consequences: The ACA is not flawless. Strengthening the law will enable us to expand coverage affordably using the tools already at our disposal. We can boost enrollment by expanding subsidies to help more middle-class families afford their premiums. And we should fix the “family glitch,” which prevents families with access to employer-sponsored insurance from receiving premium tax credits on the exchange, regardless of whether or not their plan is affordable for the whole family.  Boost Access to the Exchanges: We could significantly reduce the barriers to coverage if we establish a special enrollment period (SEP) for individuals who earn below a certain income threshold, and make it easier to enroll for those with qualifying life events such as job loss. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that thirty-one percent of Americans who lost employer-sponsored coverage during the pandemic qualify for subsidies on the exchange. They simply need a window in which to enroll as quickly and seamlessly as possible. Expanding SEPs in every state could increase the rate of coverage nationwide—a relatively straightforward step with lifesaving consequences, particularly during COVID-19. SAVE COLORADANS MONEY ON HEALTH CARE Strengthen Medicare and Medicaid: Our safety net programs are a lifeline for millions of the most vulnerable Americans. As senator, I commit to strengthening and modernizing Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP. Not only did President Trump and Senator Gardner not act fast enough to help seniors in this crisis, but Senator Gardner has repeatedly voted to cut support for aging citizens and people with disabilities. He supports capping Medicaid, which would cut essential health care services and make cash-strapped states pick up the tab. Lower the Cost of Prescription Drugs: Now more than ever, we need to make sure prescription drugs are affordable. Twenty-nine percent of Americans forgo medicine because of the cost. This is unacceptable. Congress has been in the pocket of the pharmaceutical industry for too long, and the American public has suffered as a result. Senator Gardner has taken $547,897 from the pharmaceutical industry and voted to put a drug company lobbyist in charge of the Department of Health and Human Services. In response to the coronavirus, Senator Gardner failed to support limits on the cost of new prescription drugs. If elected to the U.S. Senate, I will fight to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. This includes allowing Medicare to negotiate prices directly with drug companies; permitting the importation of safe medicine from Canada; requiring more transparency in drug pricing and curtailing significant increases in the price of both generic and specialty drugs; and investigating potential anti-competitive practices in the pharmaceutical industry. We simply need to find the courage to act. As your senator, I will. End Surprise Medical Billing: Surprise medical billing occurs when patients unknowingly see an out-of-network provider—even if the hospital is in-network or the service is an emergency. Colorado is one of only twenty-six states that have passed legislation addressing surprise medical bills. But the state-level laws do not impact people on employer-sponsored plans, so action on the federal level is essential.  Curb Provider Costs: The United States spends more on health care as a percentage of GDP than other high-income countries. You and I feel those costs in the form of expensive co-pays and sky-high deductibles. Reining in this reckless spending could lower costs across this board. As your senator I will push for greater transparency in hospital pricing. The ACA required hospitals to publish their “sticker prices,” but that information is often difficult to find and rarely reflective of what people actually pay. For elective procedures, price comparisons can help put some of the power back in the hands of consumers. We must also support high-need, high-cost (HNHC) patients. While HNHC individuals comprise only five percent of the population, they account for half of all health care spending. Pilot programs around the country have explored providing HNHC patients with intensive wraparound services to reduce hospitalizations and manage chronic conditions. These efforts have shown promising results and should be explored further. Finally, Congress should consider incentivizing value-based payment systems, which reward providers for positive outcomes and hold them accountable for negative ones. Evidence suggests that not only can cost savings be significant, but patients receive higher-quality care. RESPOND TO COVID-19  Do What We Know Works: COVID-19 caught us by surprise. It shouldn’t have. The Obama administration created an office of pandemic preparedness that equipped the government to respond to precisely this type of crisis. President Trump dismantled the team when he took office—an irresponsible move that Senator Gardner ignored.  Once the virus gained steam in the United States, the president (after initially dismissing the threat) has categorically failed in his response. He sidelined scientists, pitted states against each other in a bidding war that drove up the price of essential PPE, and failed to develop an appropriate system of testing.  And while the country looks to Washington for leadership, Senator Gardner has provided little. Despite his oversight power on the Science Committee, he has refused to call out the president’s missteps and supports a lawsuit that would strip millions of Americans of their health insurance during a pandemic. We need to do better. The irony is, we know what works to get COVID-19 under control. Testing, contact tracing, social distancing, wearing masks, and providing PPE to first responders and essential workers are basic tenets of public health that have helped countries around the world manage their outbreaks. We need to scale up these interventions across the board. A vaccine will help, and we need to prepare for efficient and equitable mass distribution. That said, a vaccine is not a panacea, and until one becomes available, we will need to figure out how to coexist with this virus.  To do so, Congress should increase the federal share of state Medicaid costs to twelve percent, as requested by a bipartisan group of the nation’s governors. Additional funding is also necessary for hospitals that are overwhelmed and frontline public health departments that have been underfunded for decades. As your senator, in addition to restoring sanity to our public health response, I will shore up our long-term preparedness by supporting pandemic research efforts, global health funding, and engagement with international bodies such as the World Health Organization. Targeted relief now, and careful preparation [DATE REMOVED] will help resolve this crisis and prevent future ones. Address the Long-Term Health Impacts of the Pandemic: We are still learning about the health impacts of COVID-19. Preliminary reports suggest patients can experience chronic heart, lung, and neurological issues after recovering from the acute phase of the disease. In addition, individuals who have deferred visits to physicians because of a moratorium on elective procedures will have pent-up demand for care. And fears are emerging of a mental health crisis in patients, first responders, and people whose lives have been disrupted by this pandemic. Congress must act to establish a national effort to study both the chronic impacts of COVID-19, as well as to coordinate federal resources to strengthen the capacity of our healthcare system in the face of increased demand. And we must protect coverage for pre-existing conditions, which includes the millions of Americans who have recovered from COVID-19. Prioritize Oversight and Accountability in Relief Packages: Congress has appropriated over $2.4 trillion dollars to address the coronavirus pandemic. This money is desperately needed. Without strong coordination of government resources at the federal level, we will experience an even greater catastrophe in our economy, schools, and health care system. It is also desperately in need of accountability. President Trump has declared he will not comply with aspects of the oversight requirements. He fired the Inspector General responsible for overseeing the Department of Health and Human Services after she issued a report critical of his response. He also fired the Inspector General selected to lead the committee tasked with overseeing the administration of COVID-19 relief. And hundreds of millions of dollars in pandemic assistance have gone to donors who do business with the Trump Organization. No wonder the administration is unwilling to be transparent about the recipients of this government support—its members are actively profiting off of it. If elected to the Senate, I will join my colleagues in pushing for robust oversight of the stimulus packages, to ensure that the money gets to those who need it most.  PRIORITIZE PUBLIC HEALTH Fund Community Health Centers: Sixty percent of American adults suffer from a chronic condition. Forty-two percent have two or more. Yet according to the CDC, in 2015 only eight percent of adults thirty-five or older received the type of care designed to manage these conditions—or prevent them entirely. Preventive care is a cost-effective, critical component of living healthier lives. Community health centers are one of the best ways to provide preventive care. They are an essential part of the health safety net, serving 28 million Americans and 1 in 5 Medicaid patients. And their value often extends far beyond primary care, with integrated services such as nutrition counseling, smoking cessation therapies, enrollment support for government assistance programs, early detection screenings, and much more. These clinics were struggling before the pandemic, but now they are on the front lines of COVID-19. If elected to the U.S. Senate, I will make sure these critical health facilities have the support they need. Prioritize the Social Determinants of Health: Prevention does not stop at the clinic door. It is rooted in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the education we receive, the job we go to during the day, and the home we return to at [DATE REMOVED]. From safe neighborhoods to strong social ties, non-medical factors routinely impact our health. And these social determinants are a major contributor to disparities in health outcomes along racial or economic lines. As senator, I am committed to strengthening SNAP, increasing access to affordable housing, improving the quality of education, addressing the food deserts in underserved communities, and investing in our economic recovery—all of which will contribute to the health and wellbeing of Americans.  Improve Treatment for Substance Misuse and Mental Health: COVID-19 has caused dislocation, isolation, and extreme economic hardship for many Americans. Experts warn that rates of addiction and mental health crises will rise in tandem. But both were challenges before the virus and will continue to be after the pandemic has passed. Today, nearly half of Americans report COVID-19 has had a negative impact on their mental health. In the short-term, I support the allocation of dedicated emergency funds to address the substance misuse and mental health effects of COVID-19. In the long-term, I am committed to funding Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics and substance misuse treatment programs, supporting community-led efforts to end stigma associated with seeking help, and investing in telehealth for counseling. In 2013, I signed a bill requiring coverage for substance misuse and mental health treatment by individual and group plans. I am committed to continuing this advocacy in the U.S. Senate. In addition, I support scaling up Colorado’s best practices to curb the opioid epidemic by expanding access to naloxone treatment, researching alternative pain management therapies, supporting Medicated-Assisted Treatment (MAT)—a whole-patient approach to substance misuse, and updating prescribing guidelines to reinvigorate federal efforts to address this crisis.  Support Rural Hospitals: Rural hospitals serve 1 in 5 Americans. But rural providers have been struggling on razor-thin margins for years and our nation is facing a crisis of closures as a result. As governor, I was proud to offer rural hospitals some relief by signing a bill to avert hundreds of millions in cuts. I also expanded Medicaid, which saved 12 critical access hospitals in Colorado from closing. But the challenge is not over. The pause on elective services during COVID-19 has slowed revenue even more. If elected to the Senate, I commit to advocating for rural hospitals and clinics, to make sure they have access to the federal funding they need to meet the health care needs of their communities.  FOCUS ON EQUITY Address Racial Disparities in Health Care: Health care outcomes diverge dramatically based on race. This reality is rooted in structural biases, systemic racism, and decades of underinvestment in communities of color. It is not enough to simply expand the scope of coverage, we must change the nature of how care is provided to ensure more equal treatment for all. I support funding research into outcomes where divergences are pronounced — including diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and maternal and infant mortality — to better understand their roots. Congress should appropriate funds for programs addressing the social determinants of health, including nutritious food, public transportation, and safe spaces for physical activity. Training and educational programs must play their part by prioritizing diversity and inclusion when recruiting the next generation of practitioners, and curriculums should provide thorough training in identifying and correcting biases in care. And communities of color should have a seat at the table for all discussions of health care reforms. Honor Our Commitment to America’s Veterans: As a nation, we owe a debt of gratitude to our service men and women. These heroes put themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe. When they return home, it should be to a health care system that fully supports their reentry to civilian life. The ACA was a big leap forward in this regard. Almost half a million veterans obtained coverage under the law, with coverage gains being the largest in Medicaid expansion states like Colorado. But challenges remain in the form of long wait times and logistical hurdles. For example, these obstacles limit access to care for the estimated twenty percent of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans suffering from major depression or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In the U.S. Senate, I will be an advocate for our nation’s veterans, working to ensure we provide programmatic support commensurate with their sacrifice. Secure Reproductive Rights: Roe v. Wade is threatened more than ever before. Reproductive rights are under attack in courtrooms, in the U.S. Senate, and in legislatures across the country. The constitutionally protected right to an abortion is an essential component of reproductive health care. We must also guarantee access to affordable and safe contraception — covered in the ACA — and coverage for routine cancer screenings and management of chronic conditions. I support organizations like Planned Parenthood, which provide intersectional care for individuals of all ages, identities, and backgrounds.  Birth equity is also of vital importance. The United States has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the industrialized world, and Black women die three to four times more often than white women when giving birth. Individuals of color deserve equal access to high-quality, patient-centered care, which I am committed to fighting for as senator. This means gathering data about maternal mortality, investing in culturally sensitive perinatal care and doula training, extending Medicaid coverage for new mothers to [DATE REMOVED], providing wraparound services for new mothers, and using innovative payment models to incentivize improved outcomes. As senator, I pledge to protect the right to choose, fully fund critical government programs for reproductive health such as Title X, and work to reduce racial disparities across the spectrum of reproductive care.  Fight for Comprehensive Care for LGBTQ Americans: Even after the passage of the ACA, LGBTQ Americans are more likely to be uninsured than non-LGBTQ Americans. The numbers are even higher for transgender individuals and queer people of color. And when fifty-five percent of LGBTQ Coloradans fear being treated differently by their provider, it is clear that insurance is only a part of the problem. LGBTQ individuals deserve to receive gender-affirming and inclusive care. Congress should expand competency training for physicians to address internal biases regarding gender and sexual orientation. Transgender Americans suffer inconsistent coverage for hormone replacement therapy and gender reassignment surgery, and Congress should step in to equalize access to medically necessary treatments and discrimination-free care. Finally, I support ending the FDA’s restriction on blood donations from men who have sex with men, an antiquated policy that embodies the legacy of discrimination against LGBTQ individuals in the medical community.  Prioritize the Needs of Americans with Disabilities: Any conversations about health care reform must center the voices of Americans with disabilities. As senator, I will commit to just that. I will work to make sure that a public option is structured to meet the needs of the disability community by soliciting input from the individuals who would be directly affected. In addition, I support ending the two-year waiting period for coverage under Medicare for people who become disabled before the age of sixty-five and raising the standard of Medicaid coverage for people with disabilities nationwide. Finally, Congress should appropriate additional funding for disability services, including reducing the shortage of direct support professionals who work with people with disabilities. INVEST IN OUR FUTURE Restore the Independence of Our Nation’s Science Agencies: As a former geologist, I deeply appreciate the power of science. That is why, as senator, I will support funding for NIH, the CDC, and other research institutions that move our country forward. These agencies are responsible for critical breakthroughs — establishing the link between E. coli and human disease (CDC), the creation of a hepatitis vaccine (NIH) — and their success is to our direct benefit. But Trump has sidelined and politicized these institutions during his presidency. In the Senate, I will work to restore the independence and leadership of our federal science-based organizations by voting for experienced nominees to lead these agencies who actually believe in science. Support Scientific Research and Technological Innovation: As senator, I will commit to supporting legislation that elevates cutting-edge science and technology in our health care system. Whether that is making investments in precision medicine and targeted genomic therapies, using 3D printers to make medical devices and prosthetics, or exploring how artificial intelligence and virtual reality could be applied in a health care setting, Congress has a role to play in nurturing the technological innovations that can make Americans healthier.  Expand Telemedicine: During COVID-19, routine visits to the doctor immediately stopped. But medical needs did not. Enter telemedicine, which the CARES Act expanded on a temporary basis to individuals covered by Medicare and Medicaid. I believe we should make these changes permanent. Telehealth is not a perfect fit for everyone, but for some, it works very well and dramatically increases access to care. It is popular too—in [DATE REMOVED], adoption increased by 4,300 percent. There is work to be done to enable telemedicine to reach its full potential. The technology remains a challenge, as many Coloradans live without access to reliable broadband, and we will need to modernize patient confidentiality laws to ensure data collected during virtual meetings is secure. But telehealth is here to stay, and as senator, I will make sure it becomes a safe, valuable resource to keep Americans healthy.  CONCLUSION The world is reeling from COVID-19. The pandemic is imposing a stress test on our health care system and institutions. Tens of millions of Americans are unemployed, and many lost their health insurance along with their job. Nurses and doctors, paramedics and first responders, essential workers across all industries—these are the heroes getting us through. This crisis is also an opportunity. It has reminded us that we are all in this together and that [DATE REMOVED]’s health care system can be better than today’s. As your senator, l will fight to build a health care system that works for all Americans. Change is coming, and it is long overdue. Share on facebook Share on twitter Share on linkedin Share on email Share on print Join Us Email Address Zip Code Phone Number By providing your cell phone number you consent to receive 10 or more recurring updates or donation asks each month from Hickenlooper for Colorado by automated text message. Txt HELP for help, STOP to end. Msg&Data rates may apply. Privacy Policy. Terms of Service. 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Equity for All - John Hickenlooper for U.S. SenateSkip to main content Enable accessibility for visually impaired Open the accessibility menu Skip to content CHIP IN $10 TO SUPPORT JOHN HICKENLOOPER >> CHIP IN $10 TO SUPPORT JOHN HICKENLOOPER >> Home Meet John Español Facebook-f Twitter Instagram Spotify Donate Now Donate Now The United States has a long history of racism, segregation, and legalized oppression based on skin color. The economic disadvantages associated with race are varied, and persist to [DATE REMOVED]. Any form of discrimination, either overt or covert, has no place in our state or country. We must ensure all people have access to quality education, a strong social safety net, family-sustaining jobs, and physical security. I am committed to working hand-in-hand with communities of color to design economically just reforms that make an impact on the legacy of inequality that has plagued our country for generations. For the entirety of my career in public life, I have been committed to increasing the size of the table so that everyone has a seat. When I was mayor of Denver, nearly 60% of my cabinet appointments were women, and more than half were people of color. My predecessor, Mayor Wellington Webb, connected our team with leading organizations that became invaluable partners in supporting our agenda of diversity and inclusion. As governor, I put special effort into making sure that every state board and commission more accurately reflected the diversity of Colorado’s population.  My Equity For All plan is a continuation of this work and a commitment to the people of Colorado. Every individual deserves to live in a country where biases against race do not determine their opportunity to succeed. Whether in health care, the economy, the legal system, the environment, or our democracy, greater equity is not optional — it is required. We have a moral imperative to do far better than we ever have before, and I am committed to being a fierce advocate in this fight. INCREASING HEALTH EQUITY Improve Access to Health Care: Health care is a right, not a privilege. As governor, I was proud to bring lawmakers together from both sides of the aisle to expand Medicaid for an additional 400,000 Coloradans. I also established our state exchange, Connect for Health Colorado, which allowed individuals to compare plans for quality and affordability. In the process, we cut the uninsured rate by nearly two-thirds.  We worked hard to reach everyone, but there is more work to be done. As of 2019, 361,000 Coloradans still lacked health insurance — a quarter of whom are eligible for coverage under Medicaid. And, as of 2015, the Latinx community in Colorado was uninsured at three times the rate of white Coloradans. The final steps to universal coverage are among the most difficult, and largely depend on the outcome of [DATE REMOVED]’s election. Senator Gardner and the Republican-led Senate have repeatedly voted to repeal the ACA and Medicaid expansion, and Gardner supports a lawsuit before the Supreme Court that could end protections for people with preexisting conditions — including 2.4 million Coloradans.  If elected, I am committed to working towards affordable, universal coverage by introducing a public option that can boost competition in the marketplace and lower prices. I will also fight to cut the cost of prescription drugs and ensure that our vital social safety net programs such as mental health and substance abuse recovery services, as well as CHIP, Medicare, and Medicaid, have Congress’s full funding and support. Address Systemic Racism: Health care outcomes diverge dramatically based on race. This reality is rooted in structural biases, systemic racism, and decades of underinvestment in communities of color. It is not enough to simply expand the scope of coverage, we must change the nature of how care is provided to ensure more equal treatment for all. No policy proposal will be a panacea — the factors that contribute to these health disparities are as varied as they are damaging — but dedicated resources will absolutely help. We must research diseases where divergent outcomes are pronounced — including diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and infant mortality — to better understand their roots. Congress should appropriate funds for programs addressing the social determinants of health, including nutritious food, public transportation, and safe spaces for physical activity. Medical schools must play their part by prioritizing diversity and inclusion when recruiting the next generation of practitioners, and curriculums should provide thorough training in identifying and correcting biases in care. Finally, important bills such as the Health Equity and Accountability Act, a collaborative effort to reduce inequalities in health care that has been reintroduced each Congress for [DATE REMOVED], should finally have the chance to become law. Close Gaps in COVID-19 Outcomes: The coronavirus is highlighting the glaring inequalities in our healthcare system. Black Coloradans make up nearly 4% of the state’s population yet account for 7.6% of coronavirus cases. Latinx Coloradans are 22% of the population and make up 35% of the state’s positive cases. This is unacceptable. Coloradans of color are particularly vulnerable to contracting COVID-19 because they are more likely to be essential workers in this pandemic, and it is vital that they have the protective equipment they need to do their jobs safely. Furthermore, study after study shows that Black and Latinx Americans are dying of coronavirus at significantly higher rates than white Americans. Adequate testing, robust contact tracing, and social distancing are essential components to address any outbreak, but to get to the source of these divergent outcomes, we also must address the structural inequities in our healthcare system. Rooting out biases can and should continue far beyond the search for a vaccine. Fight for Reproductive Rights: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) marked a dramatic advancement for reproductive rights in this country, with childbirth no longer classified as a “pre-existing condition” and significantly reducing or eliminating out-of-pocket expenses for birth control. Yet gaps in coverage and access persist in communities of color, particularly during pregnancy. The United States has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the industrialized world, and Black women die three to four times more often than white women when giving birth. Women of color deserve equal access to high-quality, patient-centered care, both of which I am committed to fighting for as senator. This means gathering data about maternal mortality, investing in culturally-sensitive perinatal care and doula training, extending Medicaid coverage for new mothers to [DATE REMOVED], and using innovative payment models to incentivize improved outcomes. As senator, I pledge to protect the right to choose, fully fund critical government programs for reproductive health such as Title X, and work to reduce racial disparities across the spectrum of reproductive care.  EXPANDING ECONOMIC EQUITY Strengthen the Safety Net for Workers: Persistent efforts to weaken the social safety net — too often led, unfortunately, by Republicans in Congress — have contributed to the chronically high levels of poverty in our nation. These trends have only worsened as workers grapple with low hourly wages, lack of health insurance, and few workforce protections. The economic gap across racial lines is a constant reminder of the work that must be done to address poverty and support equality nationwide. Unions have been critical partners in this regard, nearly doubling wealth for union members as compared to nonmembers — particularly members of color. Workers cannot get ahead without affordable childcare, paid family leave, and fair compensation, including raising the minimum wage to $15. For individuals of color with disabilities, the barriers to economic opportunity can be even steeper, and tailored career, education, and financial support is necessary to foster more equal outcomes. Outside of the workplace, investments in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are critical, to keep working families healthy and fed. Our nation’s public transportation system, which many workers rely on to reach their jobs, is in dire need of repair. Finally, we should use the opportunity zone framework to prioritize federal investment in marginalized communities that face maintenance, safety, and water challenges. We must collectively fight for a future where all people have access to economic opportunities. A strong safety net helps bring those opportunities closer. Invest in Education: Education is one of the best investments we can make in our kids. As a public school parent, I am keenly aware of the particular power that public schools have to equalize opportunity for all students. As mayor of Denver, I helped lead the successful effort to establish the Denver Preschool Program, which provides free early childhood education to Denver families. As senator, I will work to ensure every student can benefit from the foundation for future success that education provides.  This includes closing the achievement gap by expanding literacy opportunities, promoting STEM learning for students of color, funding Head Start and full-day kindergarten, supporting the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), recruiting and retaining teachers of color, and so much more. We must also end the “school-to-prison pipeline,” in which students – sometimes as young as three – are disciplined under “zero tolerance policies” and suspended or expelled. Our public education system needs adequate funding to provide the type of enriching academic environment that is so vital to eliminate this practice. College affordability is another major hurdle for students. Expanded loan repayment and forgiveness programs, tuition-free community college, and investment in minority-serving scholarship programs such as TRIO and Gear Up are a big step in the right direction. For students who go to college but are unable to complete their degree, we must collect quality data on racial disparities in graduation rates as well as policy interventions that work best to address these gaps. Minority-Serving Institutions, such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic-Serving Institutions, and Asian American & Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions, do important work to address discrimination in education, and I am committed to making sure they have the funding they need to continue their vital missions.  Boost Skills Training: Apprenticeships are a great tool for equalizing access to employment for all Americans. Currently, only 37% of young people in the United States complete a four-year degree. Apprenticeships offer an attractive bridge — or alternative — to postsecondary education. As governor, I helped establish CareerWise in Colorado, a job training program that works to provide students with valuable work experience, a paycheck in the tens of thousands, and free college credit—all while still in high school. As senator, I will fight to close employment gaps for communities of color by providing diverse cohorts of students the on-the-job skills training they need to succeed in the economy of the future.  Support Entrepreneurs of Color: Minority-owned small businesses are engines of employment and powerful agents of economic growth in their communities. Yet access to capital, which is a big challenge for any small business owner, is particularly difficult for entrepreneurs of color. Minority entrepreneurs are less likely to be approved for business loans or to receive investment than firms owned by white Americans. Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) step in to fill these gaps, and should receive full financial support from Congress. The economic crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic has made funding particularly challenging to access these days, and by and large, relief efforts have not been designed with minority-owned small businesses in mind. I proposed a COVID-19 recovery plan that would set aside funding, including for businesses with 20 or fewer employees, which represent 88% of all small businesses, and give priority to minority- and women-owned businesses in particular. We must do all we can to make sure that minority entrepreneurs have the support they need to weather this crisis. Address Housing Inequality: Affordable housing is a fundamental necessity. Yet decades of segregationist and racist housing policies have left communities of color more housing insecure than their white peers. Expansion of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and compliance with the 1968 Fair Housing Act are critical steps towards reducing this disparity. If elected senator, I will also push for the inclusion of affordable housing in any major infrastructure package we consider, and hold lenders accountable for predatory housing loans.  SECURING LEGAL EQUITY Overhaul the Immigration System: Our immigration system is a mess. Children have been held in cages at the southern border, the future of DACA recipients hangs in the balance, and President Trump is using the coronavirus as an excuse to turn away anyone seeking to immigrate. Many of these stories are wrenching. The last time Congress came close to passing comprehensive immigration reform was 2013, when then-Representative Gardner opposed the bill and helped block its passage in the House of Representatives. Our country cannot afford to wait any longer for the Republican-led Senate to find its conscience. Change needs to come now. Change needs to come for the one million pending immigration cases languishing in our underfunded courts system. Change needs to come for the businesses and farmers who depend on consistency yet receive none from our current visa program. And change needs to come for the nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants and 700,000 Dreamers whose lives are being upended by this administration. These individuals are enmeshed in our communities, they have families and pay taxes, and they deserve a pathway to citizenship. If we can invite this change by passing comprehensive immigration reform, we can do justice to our legacy as a nation of immigrants. Addressing Police Brutality: Videos of Black and Brown Americans being shot and brutalized should awaken outrage in every individual. I stand in solidarity with those who seek justice. In communities of color, playing in the park, asking for roadside assistance, relaxing at home, or even reporting on live television—raises the specter of discrimination and violence at the hands of police in a way it never does for other Americans. As mayor of Denver, police reform was one of our central priorities. [DATE REMOVED] Ferguson, we initiated efforts to reduce lethal force in policing, requiring all officers to go through crisis de-escalation training. For the first time in the history of the Denver Police Department, we hired a minority recruiter and established the Office of Independent Monitor to investigate allegations of police misconduct. We created the Civilian Oversight Commission to give communities direct input on how their own neighborhoods are policed, and we made it easier to discipline officers who use excessive force. What we did wasn’t perfect and there is so much more work to be done, locally and nationally, but we listened to communities of color. We tried to gain a greater understanding of the challenges they face, and we worked together towards a common goal. All of this needs to be done on a much larger scale today as the use of deadly force against Black and Brown Americans by police continues to be an epidemic in our country. There are tangible steps Congress can and must take to stop the violence, including requiring body cameras for all police officers, swiftly disciplining  officers who use excessive force, increasing transparency in policing data, and funding programs to heal the trauma of communities living in fear. As senator, I am committed to working with communities of color to address the fear and mistrust of law enforcement, to fiercely advocate for proper police training, and to increase accountability and oversight. People have a right to be safe, unafraid, and secure in their communities. And people have a right to not be victimized in their day-to-day lives or when they peacefully protest injustice. As a country, we have tolerated systemic racism and a broken criminal justice system for far too long. Now more than ever, we must listen to one another and ask ourselves what we can do to be a part of the solution. I pledge to do my part. Restructuring our Criminal Justice System: Our country incarcerates 22% of the world’s prisoners—the highest rate in the world, and disproportionately incarcerates people of color. 23% of all inmates in the state or federal prison system are Latinx, and 33% are African American. For too many, the criminal justice system is anything but just. As senator, I will work to address these disparities by supporting legislation such as Bobby Scott’s SAFE Justice Act, which offers an evidence-based prevention approach alongside tangible proposals to reduce recidivism and increase sentencing alternatives, including restorative justice. In addition, physical and verbal harassment against people of color, particularly LGBTQ individuals and, more recently, members of the AAPI community, are a form of overt discrimination that should never be tolerated. We must partner with police departments to close gaps that prevent the reporting and enforcement of existing bias crime laws, such as strengthening the tracking and reporting of hate crimes. Restructuring at all levels will be essential to ensuring that both public safety and social equality are protected. Decriminalize Marijuana: The movement for legalization gained steam across the country after Coloradans took decisive action to legalize marijuana in 2012. The implications for the justice system are massive. We know that African American men have been disproportionately imprisoned for nonviolent marijuana crimes. That’s one of the many reasons why I believe we must decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, with the flexibility for states to determine whether or not to legalize it. We should not be putting people in jail for nonviolent marijuana crimes, and we should evaluate sentences for those who were incarcerated prior to legalization. And in states like Colorado where marijuana is legal, we should work to level the playing field with regards to access to capital for entrepreneurs of color in the cannabis industry. All aspiring business owners should be able to take advantage of the economic opportunity this burgeoning industry presents, should they choose to do so. Promote Gun Safety: Over the past decade, more than 1.2 million Americans have been shot and millions more traumatized by gun violence. It is a national crisis, and one that disproportionately impacts communities of color. Latinx Americans are nearly twice as likely to die from gun violence as white Americans, while Black Americans are ten times as likely. We can and must take action by implementing universal background checks, passing red flag laws, banning assault weapons, and funding gun violence prevention research. Federal action on this front is astonishingly overdue and will make all communities safer. GROWING ENVIRONMENTAL EQUITY Support Environmental Justice: Climate change and environmental pollution affect all Americans, but they impact people of color and indigenous communities in an outsized way. According to the NAACP, “race – even more than class – is the number one indicator for the placement of toxic facilities in this country.” Air and water pollution cause higher rates of associated illnesses. The need to ensure that communities can rely on a clean water supply was devastatingly apparent in the failure of government in Flint, Michigan and is playing out again amidst the novel coronavirus pandemic. Fighting for a cleaner planet is irrevocably intertwined with racial justice. As senator, I will approach any climate or environmental policy from the perspective of civil rights and look forward to working with communities of color to design more inclusive, equitable solutions. Expand Access to Public Lands: Colorado is defined by our wild places. In the Senate, I’ll fight to make sure that federal agencies are working with local agencies and the outdoor sports and recreation industry to invest in innovative projects that increase access to and equity in the outdoors. In addition, I will support initiatives to promote hiring a diverse workforce within the National Park Service and associated agencies. By breaking down the barriers that prevent entry to the outdoors for communities of color, we can all share the amazing benefits of time spent exploring the landscapes that make our state unique. PROTECTING DEMOCRATIC EQUITY Reduce Barriers to the Political Process: Voting is the backbone of our democracy. When I was governor, I worked with the legislature to make sure that every eligible registered voter in Colorado gets a mail-in ballot, and we made it so that voters can register to vote online, and at any time — even on Election Day. Automatic voter registration, mail-in ballots, and fixing the Voting Rights Act — which has been gutted of its protections for communities of color by the Supreme Court — will work to make voter suppression a relic of the past and hold our leaders accountable. It is also essential that every resident gets counted by the U.S. Census. In 2010, 2.1% of Black Americans and 1.5% of Latinx Americans were not counted, which impacted how federal dollars were spent and congressional seats apportioned. In 2020, Colorado is at risk of losing $48–$193 million in federal spending if significant undercounting occurs. We can close this gap by providing more funding for the census to reach as many residents as possible. Policies that promote civic engagement help everyone participate in our democracy, and lead to political outcomes that address injustice by genuinely reflecting the will of the people.  Pledge Continued Engagement: Collaboration with, and leadership from, communities of color will be essential to achieving any of the policy objectives I have mentioned. Throughout my tenure as mayor of Denver and governor of Colorado, I relied heavily on advocates in communities of color to develop and implement our agenda to build a more welcoming and diverse state. We must not only fight for legislation that creates a fairer America, we should also lift up and celebrate the arts and traditions of communities of color that intertwine to form America’s cultural fabric. If elected to the U.S. Senate, I hope to continue this collaborative working relationship, maintaining open lines of communication to craft policies that will help make America a more equitable place to live.  Share on facebook Share on twitter Share on linkedin Share on email Share on print Join Us Email Address Zip Code Phone Number By providing your cell phone number you consent to receive 10 or more recurring updates or donation asks each month from Hickenlooper for Colorado by automated text message. Txt HELP for help, STOP to end. Msg&Data rates may apply. Privacy Policy. Terms of Service. Home Privacy Policy Terms Accessibility Volunteer Donate PAID FOR BY HICKENLOOPER FOR COLORADO PO Box 18886, Denver, CO 80218 hello@hickenlooper.com Facebook-f Twitter Instagram Flickr Spotify Youtube
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Priorities - John Hickenlooper for U.S. Senate2%Skip to main content Enable accessibility for visually impaired Open the accessibility menu Skip to content CHIP IN $10 TO SUPPORT JOHN HICKENLOOPER >> CHIP IN $10 TO SUPPORT JOHN HICKENLOOPER >> Home Meet John Español Facebook-f Twitter Instagram Spotify Donate Now Donate Now Change is on tap By providing your cell phone number you consent to receive 10 or more recurring updates or donation asks each month from Hickenlooper for Colorado by automated text message. Txt HELP for help, STOP to end. Msg&Data rates may apply. Privacy Policy. Terms of Service. John’s Story John took a different path to public office. After being laid off as a geologist, he opened the first brewpub in Colorado. As a small-business owner, John was active in the local community and ran for office because he believed he could bring a different perspective and get things done. At a time when Washington is rife with division, John is the problem-solver we need in the Senate. Learn More Learn More $5 $5 $50 $50 $250 $250 $25 $25 $100 $100 Donate Donate If you’ve saved your payment information with ActBlue Express, your donation will go through immediately. Washington is broken. You can help fix it! When John started Colorado’s first brewpub, he served everybody — Democrat or Republican. That’s what he did as Governor, and that’s what they should be doing in Washington. Chip in if you agree. Join Us Email Address Zip Code Phone Number By providing your cell phone number you consent to receive 10 or more recurring updates or donation asks each month from Hickenlooper for Colorado by automated text message. Txt HELP for help, STOP to end. Msg&Data rates may apply. Privacy Policy. Terms of Service. Home Privacy Policy Terms Accessibility Volunteer Donate PAID FOR BY HICKENLOOPER FOR COLORADO PO Box 18886, Denver, CO 80218 hello@hickenlooper.com Facebook-f Twitter Instagram Flickr Spotify Youtube
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