Healthcare and How to Address Rising Costs

From a high-level perspective, in this country, we have 20,000 people die a year because they do not have health care and 700,000 people per year go bankrupt because of medical bills.

·      For people under 65 that work we have the German model: Employer and employee share premiums.

·      For Native Americans and the Military, we have the British model: Free

·      For those over 65 we are Canada: Medicare.

·      For the 45 million that are uninsured in this country our health care system is like rural India or Cambodia, nothing. Those numbers are unthinkable in every other developed country.

Right now, we have the worst of the public sector: Bureaucracy, and the worst of the private sector: Greed.

Healthcare should be affordable and accessible to all Coloradans. Unfortunately, the system we have doesn’t meet that standard. The truth is the rising cost of healthcare is impacting all of us, regardless of a person’s income. As you know, having even a basic understanding of our healthcare system is challenging. We have a tangled web of healthcare providers, insurers, doctors and too much government regulation.

I find it interesting that Colorado is one of the top ten most expensive states when it comes to individual healthcare, yet we ranked consistently as one of the healthiest states. How can that be?

I oppose many parts of Obamacare. I think it has driven up costs and inserted too much government regulation into the system. However, unless someone comes up with a better plan (Democrat or Republican), I think the smartest thing for us to do is to fix the law rather than repeal it. So how do we make the healthcare system more affordable and accessible? Here are some of my thoughts and what I would fight for as your representative.

The name of the “Obamacare” state run healthcare system in Colorado is called Connect for Health Colorado. It was created in 2011 and currently has 7 participating healthcare providers. However, their plans are not offered in every county. In fact, 14 of Colorado’s 64 counties only have one healthcare provider.

1.     Healthcare providers should be able to sell plans across state lines.

It is ridiculous to believe Colorado residents are better off by with seven healthcare providers when we could have seventeen. We should have more competition in all of Colorado’s 64 counties.

2.     Part of the reason our healthcare costs have increased is because pharmaceutical corporations and insurers are making the cost of prescription drugs and medications unaffordable by putting profits ahead of people. 

I think pharmaceutical companies must be more transparent about what their costs and profit margins are. I support legislation that would require prescription drug corporations to disclose how they come up with prices for their drugs, including how much they spend on manufacturing, production, research and development, advertising and what their profit margins are.

The bottom line is healthcare consumers deserve to know the price of their prescriptions before reaching the pharmacy counter. Colorado families trying to provide the best possible care for a loved one should never have to consider forgoing or substituting a drug because of its price.

Most people have healthcare insurance of only 6 years, there is no incentive for long term prevention. We need to look at the health care issue from all angles, increase transparency and focus on the health of our population rather than quarterly returns.