Is "Efficiencies" a Euphemism for Heathcare Cuts?

The latest Republican to stand in front of a camera and complain about state spending on health care for the elderly, disabled, and other poor people, without offering any alternatives, is former state Sen. Greg Brophy, who's freshly back from a job with Rep. Ken Buck in Washington DC.

Brophy appeared on Politics Unplugged, 7News' interview show, last month to say that Colorado is being forced, under TABOR rules, to refund taxes to citizens due to the hospital provider fee.

"The hospital provider fee and the other expansions of, well, it amounts to Obamacare, have committed spending on that area at the expense of every other area in state government," said Brophy.

In 2009, Colorado tapped federal funds, which match a "hospital provider fee" collected by hospitals, to expand Medicaid coverage to around 300,000 low-income people and children. It allowed kids, for example, from families of four making $45,000 annually to qualify for state Medicaid coverage. Later, Obamacare kicked in, reimbursing the state to cover more poor people in Colorado.

So yes, Colorado has expanded its Medicaid program. But the state isn't paying for coverage of the vast majority of the newly added people, since the feds pick up the tab for Obamacare and the hospital provider fee.

Brophy thinks the state has gone too far in helping the elderly, disabled, kids, and other poor people get medical coverage.

"If it wasn't for that hospital provider fee, there wouldn't be TABOR refunds going out this year, or projected next year, or the year after that," said Brophy on air. "We'd be able to spend all the money that comes in and prioritize it on education and transportation where, the people, I think, want to spend it."

So, reporters should ask how he wants to cut Medicaid. Get rid of the hospital provider fee and knock some people off it? That's a fair question.

What would Brophy have us do? Charge poor people co-pays, which Brophy advocated in the past, saying poor people aready spend their money on Lotto, cigarettes, and air conditioning? Would he have Colorado lower eligibility thresholds? Are we too generous?

Brophy didn't return a call to explain.

"I really think we want to force the state of Colorado to find efficiencies in what they spend money on," Brophy told 7News' Marshall Zellinger, sounding a lot like Donald Trump.

Where are these efficiencies? Where's reality? Or is it like, I'll force Mexico to build the wall. Trust me, they will.