Where the Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate stand on key Colorado issues ahead of primary

Rivals John Hickenlooper and Andrew Romanoff are offering distinct choices for voters ahead of the June 30 election

  Health care




What do you think is necessary to address the COVID-19 pandemic?


Support workers and small businesses

A: Hickenlooper is focused supporting the workers and small businesses that are the backbone of the economy. He said he will focus on creating supply chains to get supplies to people who need it, including businesses. He believes the government should pay for coronavirus tests.




Need to address broader issues

A: He supports efforts to accelerate the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. But he says the pandemic demonstrates a need for “Medicare for All” because everyone’s health is interconnected. He suggested stronger action to address climate change is important, too, because outbreaks are more likely to occur and spread in warming global temperatures.





What approach do you favor to expand health care coverage in America?

Background: Both Democratic candidates favor universal health care coverage but differ on how to accomplish the goal. In Colorado, about 93.5% of people have health insurance coverage, a recent survey found, but the number of people who are uninsured is rising at the national level. The reason is mostly the cost of insurance. At the state level, a bill to create a public option died in the legislature in 2020 and a government single-payer failed at the ballot in 2016.


Favors public option

A: Hickenlooper is promoting “an evolution, not a revolution” when it comes to health care. He favors a public option that would compete against private plans on the insurance marketplace rather than a single-payer system such as “Medicare for All.” He has said such a plan needs to lower health care costs and work within the Affordable Care Act, but did not provide additional details on how it would work. As governor, he signed legislation to expand government-run Medicaid coverage to low-income residents.




Supports single-payer, government plan at federal level

A: Romanoff supports Medicare for All, a system that would make government the single payer of health care costs. The coverage would include mental health and substance use treatment, prescription drugs, vision, dental, hearing, maternity and long-term care. Romanoff has not discussed how he would pay for the plan, which would cost about $30 trillion, but a plan put forward by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would make employees and employers pay the bulk of the cost and include increased taxes to cover the most of the remainder.





Do you support Colorado's ability to import prescription drugs from other countries, and how will you lower prices for consumers?

Background: The Democratic-led General Assembly in Colorado approved legislation in 2019 that would make the state one of the nation’s first to import prescription drugs from other countries. The Polis administration is delaying implementation amid the budget crunch, but the measure requires federal approval. President Donald Trump supports drug importation, but even if the state received the go-ahead by the end of 2020, the next presidential administration could play a role.


Supports Colorado’s drug importation program

A: Hickenlooper supports Colorado’s ability to import safe prescription drugs from other countries, including Canada and Mexico, and wants to end the prohibition on these imports. He would lower prices for consumers by expanding and rebuilding the Affordable Care Act. By allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices of prescription drugs, drug companies will be more transparent about their pricing.




Voted to reduce prescription-drug prices

A: He supports drug importation. “There’s no reason for Americans to be paying 10 times as much for the same prescription drugs as people in other countries do,” Romanoff told The Sun. In his legislative tenure, he voted to reduce Coloradans’ prescription-drug prices by pooling Colorado’s purchasing power with other states. He also invested in local health clinics and expanded the use of telemedicine.



The Candidates

Click a candidate to see where they stand.


John Hickenlooper

John Hickenlooper

Former Colorado governor and Denver mayor   

Andrew Romanoff

Andrew Romanoff

Former state House speaker and director Mental Health Colorado