Five years ago, Colorado voters soundly defeated a government-run health-care plan, Amendment 69, voting NO by a margin of four to one. Reps. Dylan Roberts of Avon, Iman Jodeh of Aurora, and Sen. Kerry Donovan of Vail have decided they know better than the voters, so they’ve introduced House Bill 21-1232, the “public option” bill.
It could impact some of the biggest moments in your life. Having a baby, dealing with a cancer diagnosis, taking your little one for a check-up. This bill cuts payments to your pediatrician, your oncologist, your family care doc, which means they have to cut services or pass the cost on to you.
This is the second time in 18 months that progressive Democrats have tried to pass some type of radical health-care overhaul here, calling it the “public option” when there isn’t really an option at all for Colorado families.
This attack on our health-care plans will destroy your ability to make health-care choices for your family and raise costs at the same time.
Perhaps voters recognized that our state government has a pretty darn bad record of managing large-scale programs like PERA, the DMV, unemployment insurance…
Perhaps voters read the report last week that the bungling of our unemployment program by state leaders will require an average 25% increase in employer taxes over the next three years? That means you get less money in your paycheck to make up for their mismanagement. How on earth will small businesses across Colorado be able to afford this coming out of the pandemic? Colorado’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund is truly a disaster for our state’s economy.
Or perhaps voters like their employer health plan, and don’t like the idea of losing their choice to pick their own doctor or hospital.
After several tries, the Colorado Option Health Benefit Plan got its first hearing Friday in the House Health & Insurance Committee in a 10-hour hearing that drew more than 100 witnesses speaking in opposition.
The bill sponsors refused to have the Colorado insurance commissioner, a political appointee, who would control the health-care system, testify under oath. We expect our doctors to tell us the truth and be up front about our health issues, but when asked for the witnesses in favor of this radical change to our health care to be put under oath, they refused. What are they hiding?
To be clear, Democrats’ public option insurance bill is the first step towards single-payer, socialized medicine. In fact, at a recent meeting of the Colorado Foundation for Universal Health Care, attendees anxiously discussed how the new proposal would lead to a universal plan. Gov. Polis is not shy about his support. As a congressman, he supported single-payer, government-run health care and as a candidate, he proposed “a universal, single-payer option” for health care spanning several states, not just Colorado.
Doctors oppose this bill. Rural hospitals oppose this bill. Patients oppose this bill. Most of us recognize that government-run health care doesn’t work. Ask veterans, ask your friends from socialist countries, ask those on the front lines of health care.
It would also prove very harmful to Colorado’s economy, especially after we were just ranked 48th in potential for economic recovery. We are not headed in the right direction!
The Common Sense Institute (CSI) just released a report that found HB-1232 “would impose top-down government price mandates for health care services in Colorado, without actually lowering the cost of delivering those services.” The result? According to CSI, the bill could result in up to $1 billion less in payments to doctors, nurses and other health-care providers. CSI also estimates a loss of 3,900 to 4,900 health care jobs.
The consequence of this bill is that doctors will leave Colorado, rural hospitals will close, and costs will go up for all of us. Not to mention, the quality of care will go down as good doctors flee.
Washington, the state, has a pretty similar public option. Their experience should be a red light flashing to Coloradans, not a beckoning to join them. They’ve seen premiums increase over 15% since they passed it in 2018. During the same time period, Colorado has seen premiums fall by around 25% since then. Why would we want to copy Washington?
Colorado’s hardworking nurses, doctors, and health-care professionals have stepped up to help us get through the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s shameful that some folks at the Capitol are now trying to destroy their jobs and a health-care system that works pretty darn well here.
Heidi Ganahl is a businesswoman, entrepreneur, author and at-large member of the University of Colorado Board of Regents, to which she was elected as a Republican in 2016.