Mullica ready to tackle health issues

Q&A with state Rep. Kyle Mullica

Liam Adams
ladams@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 2/8/21

Since his election to the Colorado House of Representatives in 2018, state Rep. Kyle Mullica’s day job as an ER nurse has informed his work at the state Capitol. It’s now just become all the more …

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Mullica ready to tackle health issues

Q&A with state Rep. Kyle Mullica

Posted

Since his election to the Colorado House of Representatives in 2018, state Rep. Kyle Mullica’s day job as an ER nurse has informed his work at the state Capitol. It’s now just become all the more relevant.

Mullica, a Northglenn resident, plans to back two major bills related to healthcare affordability and access this legislative session that is set to return fully on Feb. 16. The COVID-19 pandemic, he said, has exacerbated healthcare inequities, which he sees every day at Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center in Denver.

In a one-on-one conversation with Colorado Community Media, Mullica talked about his legislative priorities and the things motivating him this session.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

CCM: What are some major issues you will be focused on this legislative session?

Rep. Kyle Mullica: Making sure we have adequate access to healthcare. There’s a lot of inequity in our healthcare system that needs to be addressed. The trajectory that we’re on when it comes to the cost of healthcare is not a sustainable one. What are we going to do to make sure that we lower the cost of healthcare across the board?

CCM: Which pieces of legislation will you be working on to tackle those issues?

Mullica: One of the big ones is the concept around public option (health insurance). That’s actually a bill I will be working on this year with Rep. (Dylan) Roberts and Sen. (Kerry) Donovan. It’s really focused on what do we do to lower the cost of healthcare for the people of Colorado.

Also, Rep. (Yadira) Caraveo and I are going to be working on a `Colorado Health Service Corps’ bill. Imagine the concept of the national guard with healthcare workers. Talking to Rep. Caraveo and having frontline experience in seeing this, we started realizing that there are a lot of under-utilized medical professionals. Some have that degree but don’t necessarily have the training on critical care patients or running a ventilator. We thought there was ample opportunity for that cross-training. During the pandemic, we hear a lot about capacity issues. Those capacity issues aren’t regarding the number of beds. We have a lot of hospital beds in Colorado, we don’t have the staff to staff those hospital beds, though.

Mullica clarified the second bill is to establish a research group to look at the cost and logistics associated with creating a health service corps.

CCM: Your work in the medical field has informed your work since you joined the legislature. How has that changed in light of the pandemic, though?

Mullica: This pandemic has really shown us some areas where our healthcare system was broken. I think we knew that, but it really just kind of shined a brighter light on it. So, it’s pushed me to fight harder to try and fix that. We see communities of color being disproportionately affected by this virus. Part of the reason for that is because of lack of access and inequity in our healthcare system. That’s my community that we’re talking about. That is the people that live in my district. That’s what I got sent down here to do, is to fight for them.

CCM: As a state legislator, do you feel uniquely prepared for this unprecedented moment, given your work as an ER nurse? If so, how?

Mullica: There’s a lot that I take from my day job as an ER nurse. You’re always on edge, you never know what is going to be coming into the ER. You could be sitting there, and it is a slower day and all of a sudden, you go from 0 to 100 just like that. When that does happen, it’s all about the patient. It’s all about the positive outcome and the comradery that I see in the ER. It’s what drives me to do the work that I do. I think that’s the same mentality I try to take down to the Capitol. I don’t care about the letter next to your name. I don’t care if you’re a Republican or a Democrat. What I care about is that we pass a policy that is going to help Coloradans.

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