The year 2020 has presented unprecedented challenges to Coloradans and the world. And, yet, there are still many things for which we should all give thanks. In just eight months, the number of lessons we have learned about the pandemic and our society is remarkable for both their sheer volume and their significance.
First, we walk among heroes. There is no shortage of stories detailing the long hours, compassion and bravery exhibited by the men and women on the front lines of this pandemic. Our nurses, doctors and first responders have poured their hearts into their work, provided the very best care for Coloradans across the state and aided the recovery of patients throughout the Rocky Mountain region.
Second, the innovation of the health care industry is awe inspiring. Just yesterday, Moderna became the second company in as many weeks to announce an effective COVID-19 vaccine. The testing, curative treatments and other advances are happening right here in Colorado.
Finally, this Spring, Colorado hospitals demonstrated their commitment to being exceptional community partners. Hospitals across the state joined forces to build a culture of collaboration and shared best practices and treatment protocols to improve patient outcomes. They partnered with state government to provide vital data on the virus. They donated care to those in need and worked tirelessly to educate and advise Coloradans on how to stay safe.
As we look to the beginning of the legislative session and in view of these praiseworthy accomplishments, why would we make sweeping policy changes that would most certainly jeopardize our health-care system? These accomplishments have not been without costs. In addition to the human toll, the Colorado Hospital Association projects that the state’s hospitals will lose up to $4.1 billion even with federal stimulus dollars.
Some lawmakers continue to push for a public option, a policy that will have an adverse impact on the health care that is ultimately paving the way toward our recovery. For instance, consider this line item in the governor’s recent budget: “The Division of Insurance (Division) requests $864,026 in FY 2021-22 and $598,036 in FY 2022-23… ” Over three quarters of a million dollars is being proposed for a program that will ultimately result in less care, lower quality and longer wait times.
We are not done with COVID-19 yet. In fact, many have said the darkest days of the battle are still to come. Uncertainty still reigns but thanks to our health-care system, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We must remain vigilant and we must put our trust in the health care system.
The system — like any — is imperfect, but it is excelling in countless way in extraordinary times. As policy makers contemplate new legislation and significant measures like a public option and Medicare for all, they must take great care not to undo the manifold health benefits our health-care system already has laudably produced — without government intervention.
Mike Kopp is president and CEO of Colorado Concern, an alliance of top executives with a common interest in enhancing and protecting the Centennial State’s business climate.