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Future Of Health Care Dominates Gardner Telephone Town Hall

DENVER (CBS4) - Sen. Cory Gardner is among a small group of Republican lawmakers who are not ready to support his party's proposed plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. He expressed his concerns during a telephone town hall meeting Wednesday night.

Cory Gardner
Sen. Cory Gardner on March 2, 2017 (credit: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

On Wednesday the Colorado senator sent out a tweet saying "Health care is something we must get right. We have to make sure the replacement plan works better than the ACA.

Wednesday's call was the fourth time that Gardner has taken questions from constituents over the phone and online rather than having a public gathering.

"I have joined several of my colleagues in expressing desires and concerns to the majority leader that we make sure that Medicaid transition, if that's what happens, is done properly -- giving states the full flexibility they need to make smart decisions, and to drive down the cost of care, increasing the quality of care, making sure that we continue to provide the opportunities for people to have a better system than the Affordable Care Act," Gardner said.

The call included an exchange between Gardner and a woman who said Obamacare saved her life.

"What are your thoughts on giving everyone the same health insurance that you and all the members of Congress now currently have," the woman said.

"You mentioned the Affordable Care Act working for you, and that there are others that it's not, and what we need to do is make sure that this is something we find a better solution for," Gardner replied.

Gardner also expressed concerns about rural health care, particularly in western Colorado. He says he wants to make sure the new health care plan will not shut down facilities outside urban areas.

Some constituents expressed frustration with the current administration but the exchanges on the call were polite. Other topics covered were Russian election interference and President Donald Trump's personality.

"Do you think this guy's nuts? Everything in the news kind of makes it look like he is," one caller said.

Gardner replied with a laugh and then said "I would leave any medical diagnosis to the experts."

On policy, Gardner offered few details and the format blocked follow-up questions. He wouldn't answer about if he'd support the nuclear option to confirm Trump's selection and Denver-based federal judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, only saying he thinks he will be confirmed.

Neil Gorsuch and Cory Gardner
Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch, left, walks with Sen. Cory Gardner, right, before a meeting in the Russell Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill Feb. 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

"I believe Judge Gorsuch will receive Democrat and Republican support," Gardner said.

Gardner said he will continue to hold telephone town halls this year and has no plans to hold a traditional face-to-face town hall.

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