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State Senator Colbeck talks Medicaid reform, pushes back against polling numbers

State Senator Patrick Colbeck
State Senator and gubernatorial candidate Patrick Colbeck

Primary elections are next month, August 7th, and we’re making the rounds with the gubernatorial candidates vying for their party's nomination one more time.

Today, state Senator and Republican candidate Patrick Colbeck sat down with Stateside’s Lester Graham.

Colbeck is in his second term as a state Senator, and has represented the 7th district since 2011.

Listen to the full interview above, or read highlights below.

What do you think of the criticism coming from inside the party against the president, someone you wish would have endorsed you?

“Well actually, I think the criticism should be directed at Robert Mueller. He’s exceeded the bounds of his investigative authority, and he’s on a witch hunt.”

Robert Mueller wasn’t standing in Finland next to the Russian president, though.

“Yeah. Well, I think we should be talking to all the different leaders that are out there and keep the dialogue open, and I applaud the president for doing that. I applaud the president for going out to North Korea and talking to Kim Jong Un.

I mean, there’s a lot of folks — I actually go out and talk to Democrats on a regular basis, I’m one of the only Republican governor candidates, I should say right now, that has gone out and talked to the Democrats out at some pretty tough areas. So you go out to Detroit, and debate three gubernatorial candidates from the Democratic side without any Republican support. Sometimes you go into uncomfortable situations with people that may not have your views, and you have to go off and have those dialogues.”

I’ve covered politics for 33 years now and every politician says there's waste, fraud and abuse in government, we’ve got to cut it, we’ve got to cut it to the bone. How are you actually going to do that without the state suffering?

“I’ll start with the number one line item in the state budget, that's Medicaid. Now, the way this usually gets reported is ‘Colbeck's going to balance the budget on the backs of the poor.' That's not what I'm preposing. I’m actually proposing getting those who are on Medicaid better care. It's through something called Direct Primary Care; get them access to a primary care physician. When you do that, they have better preventative care; keeps them out of the expensive chronic care. It actually lowers expenses by over 20%. We’re doing a pilot on that. That's what I got in the budget this last time. We're starting it out in Detroit and Samaritan Center’s involved in this. This is an opportunity for those who are poor, that can't get good quality care, to get better care. And it's also an opportunity for taxpayers to save money. Twenty percent of $18 billion is about $3.6 billion to the good. That's the first major step towards an $9.7 billion gap.

Another thing is something I think people on both sides of the political spectrum appreciate — I can't stand crony capitalism. I can't stand it with a passion. MEDC and Michigan Strategic Fund go off and pick winners and losers, one year it's battery credits, the next year it's data centers, the next year it's film credits. Knock it off.”

The polls have not been good to your campaign. If you lose the primary, will you have any reservations about endorsing the winner?

“I beg to differ. Actually we're on the verge of winning this, and I’ve got deep data that highlights that we are neck in neck with the attorney general on this. And I'm not just saying that, this is not — the polls that have been coming out there have been push polls, there's no doubt about it. We have people when they ask and when they respond that they’re voting for Colbeck, they say that's not one of your choices, they routinely are not…

I mean a lot of media coverage, the stories when they’re talking about it, they only talk about the other two candidates. We're not going through the typical air channels, we’re actually going and talking to people one on one and I'm telling you for the folks that are saying that it's going to be Schuette or Calley, they’re in for a really big surprise on August 7th.”

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