© Gage Skidmore

John Hickenhooper

Former Governor of Colorado, 2010-2018

On the Issues

Due to Governor Hickenlooper never holding federal office, he has not had the same opportunities to support or cosponsor legislation that ANA has championed as some of the other presidential candidates. This does not necessarily indicate that, if he were to be the presidential nominee, he would not potentially be strong on nursing issues and health care more broadly.


In June 2019, Governor Hickenlooper unveiled a plan for addressing the opioid epidemic as part of a larger policy proposal to aid rural Americans. Highlights of this plan include the creation of a grant program for training of first responders to deal with overdoses and to provide them with the lifesaving drug Naloxone, a national prescription drug buyback and disposal program, banning advertising of addictive opioid painkillers, expanding national awareness campaigns about the risk of addiction, expanded training and promotion of best practices related to pain management for providers and requiring Medicaid and health care insurers to cover rehabilitation services. As governor in 2018, Hickenlooper signed a series of laws aimed at areas ranging from limitations on painkiller prescriptions to loan repayment for behavioral-health specialists working in underserved areas according to the Denver Business Journal.

Health System Transformation

Governor Hickenlooper has signed several bills related to nursing during his tenure as governor, including legislation that allows Colorado school nurses to administer non-smokable medical marijuana to students. During Hickenlooper’s tenure, community colleges can offer Bachelor of Science degrees in nursing (BSN) after a bill in Colorado became law without Hickenlooper’s signature.

Access to health care is a principle Governor Hickenlooper emphasized throughout his time in office. He worked to expand Medicaid and opened a high-quality state health insurance exchange program called Connect for Health Colorado, establishing an insurer in every county in the state. Today, nearly 95 percent of Coloradans have health care coverage. Similarly, he supports universal health care, but Hickenlooper said he was concerned that the push for “Medicare for All” would dismantle the current system when less disruptive measures may achieve the same goal.