Health Care Policy

24.05.20 06:20 PM
Health care costs have grown at a rate that exceeds inflation and are now unaffordable by the average non-Medicaid or Medicare reliant citizen. Whether insurance is provided by employers or purchased by an individual or family on the public market, costs are crippling to both businesses and families.

Colorado’s structuring of nine insurance rate regions compounds the problem of costs for many of my constituents in western Colorado.  Premiums can be 50% higher than those in front rage urban areas.

I’ve advocated for a single geographic area for all of Colorado in order to lower rural insurance rates.  I joined with other sponsors of a bill to implement re insurance as an alternative to a single geographic region.  That bill lowers rate as much a 30% for individual premiums in western Colorado because it reimburses insurers in different regions at different rates and thereby equalizes the disparity between urban and rural regions.

I’ve also sponsored a bill that increased transparency of health care pricing. With greater transparency, Individuals, business and government can start to shop for quality and cost. Local organizations like the Peak Alliance in Summit County are building on transparency to negotiate on behalf of local populations. For my senate district, local action is an effective tool.

While I’ve worked on bi partisan bills to reduce health care costs and insurance premiums, I’ve parted ways with others when their ideas include price controls and mandatory participation by providers. That sort of new program is essentially an extension of Medicaid.  Medicaid already distorts the health care system by causing providers to shift costs to those prices charged to insurance companies and individuals.

Instead, I’m leading the sponsorship of a different concept that relies on free-market competition and cost transparency. This exciting new approach is called the Total Cost of Care.  It’s working in other states already.  It focuses on a much larger arena than other more targeted attempts to control just one piece of the problem. It includes hospitals, doctors, pharmaceutical providers and companies, insurers, and consumers. It sets goals, measures progress, and includes corrective actions but looks at the entire health care delivery system instead of just a piecemeal approach.

Working together, we can make the world’s best health care system more affordable, transparent, and accessible, while maintaining the quality we expect here in Colorado.