Tag Archives: Colorado health care

Colorado Senate Bill 14-016 a boost to health care cronyism

In the Greeley Tribune, Linda Gorman writes:

Some Colorado legislators have shown impeccable timing in seeking to exacerbate the problem. Sen. Irene Aguilar, D-Denver, and Rep. Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City, have introduced Senate Bill 016, which would force the closure of already existing freestanding emergency rooms unless they are owned by a hospital. SB 016 provides an exemption for emergency rooms more than 25 miles from a licensed hospital. Given the geographic structure of the Front Range corridor, however, the practical effect of the bill would be to give hospitals monopoly control of all emergency facilities. …

Colorado’s hospitals are big businesses. As the bill to close competitive emergency rooms shows, they would rather outlaw competitors than outproduce them. Colorado legislators need to remember that handing hospitals a monopoly over freestanding emergency rooms does not serve the best interests of their constituents. It will increase health care costs while reducing health care access, and increase the pain for ordinary citizens already suffering from Obamacare cost increases.

More: Gorman: Senate Bill 016 a boost to health care cronyism in Colorado | GreeleyTribune.com.

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Colorado authorities forbid insurers from increasing rates. OK, now the dark side.

Last week the Denver Post reported:

Health-care reform has given the state the power and resources to slap down the kind of insurance-premium hikes that infuriate consumers, with advocacy groups pointing to a failed 24 percent increase request by Cigna.

Read the whole article here: Colorado gains power, resources to reject infuriating premium hikes.

Such rate review is an example of price controls. Like all price controls, they have negative consequences, which I summarized in an earlier post critical of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and Progress Now.  Summary:

  • States with rate review have had the same premium increases as those without
  • “Like other types of price controls, they require firms to sell products for less than they otherwise would. Just as rent control of apartments encourages landlords to become slumlordsinsurance price controlswill likely do the same to health plans. For examples, insurers would reduce costs by cutting back on customer service.”
  • Sally Pipes writes: “Insurers can’t endure state-mandated losses forever. Eventually, they’ll have to shed jobs or exit the market entirely. Consumers would be left with fewer choices.”
  • Insurers’ profit margins are very small. “$136 in profit per member per year.”
  • See Peter Suderman’s article Health Insurance Rate Hikes: Unreasonable if Excessive, Excessive if Unreasonable.

 

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One page summary against Obamacare

Linda Gorman of the Independence Institute has written a one-page issue backgrounder against ObamaCare: The Real Cost of ObamaCare: The End Of Reforms Promising Personal, Private, Portable, Affordable Health Care: [pdf](1 page, double-sided)

Executive Summary:
Having someone else pay for your medical care is the most expensive way to pay for it because it adds insurer overhead costs to the cost of the actual service. Colorado’s private sector began switching to consumer directed health policies (CDHPs) when they became more widely available in 2003. CDHPs encourage cash payment for inexpensive and predictable care. Health savings accounts (HSA) qualified plans save excess funds in tax-free accounts that accumulate until retirement.

For a different one-pager against ObamaCare see: “What does the health care bill mean to you?” by the National Center for Policy Analysis.

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Filed under Colorado health care, Policy - National

Caldara speaks at Colorado Health Symposium’s debate on repealing/replacing health control bill

Grace-Marie Turner summarizes part of Jon Caldara’s talk at a sold-out conference sponsored by the Colorado Health Foundation:

Jon Caldara, president of the Colorado-based Independence Institute, asked the members of the audience to raise their hand if they have homeowner’s insurance, then car insurance, and then life insurance. Virtually all in the audience raised their hand each time. Then he asked how many of them expect to file a claim on those policies this year. No hands went up.

He used the example to show that health insurance is indeed different, because people expect to use this insurance regularly. Yet, he argued, the cost of the policy is generally hidden from the insured, so people expect to cycle bills for even the most routine health care services through health insurance, driving up the cost of insurance dramatically.

Turner continues:

I said that we absolutely do need health reform but argued that the ACA [HR 3590] builds on dysfunctional systems in both the private and public sectors, and it will cause a cascade of negative consequences: …

Read more at the Health Affairs blog: The Colorado Health Symposium’s Debate.

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Hickenlooper’s veto of SB 11-213 insults low-income parents

The Boulder Daily Camera published my article criticizing Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 11-213. Here are the first and last paragraphs:

“Let them drink beer, while you pay.”  This is how Colorado taxpayers should interpret Governor Hickenlooper’s recent veto of Senate Bill 213.  For some families, SB 213 would have increased the Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) enrollment fee to $20 per month. This is what the lowest income U.S. households spend on alcohol.

CHP+ officials will soon propose changes to CHP+ fees and possibly co-payments, which are also extremely low. Maintaining current fees would not only be an injustice to taxpayers, but also an insult to eligible parents. The fees imply that parents value enjoying life’s amenities more than their own children’s health.

Read the whole article in the Boulder Daily Camera.

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Filed under Colorado health care, Medicaid/Medicare/SCHIP

Colorado Senate Bill 11-019 lifts insurance restrictions on small employers

The Colorado News Agency reports on a bill that left restrictions on how small employers can compensate their employees:

Small business employers who cannot afford health insurance for their employees under the group market but want to provide some money for their employees to purchase a health insurance plan on their own, can do so under a recent ruling by Colorado’s Division of Insurance. Sen. Keith King, R-Colorado Springs,  wants the ruling secured by law. His bill, Senate Bill 19, would do so.

“We need to find a way to insure more people,” said King. “This bill provides an alternative for small business employers to contribute toward an employee’s health insurance.”

Under the ruling, employers that don’t offer health plans and have fewer than 50 employees can contribute any amount of money, as long as it is distributed equally, into an employee’s Health Retirement Account.* The HRA funds can then be used by an employee to purchase a health insurance premium or any other qualifying medical expenses.  The money stays with the employee from year to year, much like an IRA account.

Read the whole article: Bill lets small employers chip in for individual health coverage.

A representative of the AARP opposes the bill because it would “destroy the group market” and there is “cherry picking and lemon dropping” in the individual market.  I doubt this bill will “destroy” the group market. And anyway, if give people more freedom destroys something propped up by an unfair tax code, then so be it. Also, as health care the Independence Institute’s Linda Gorman notes, direct-purchase insurance pools risks pretty well.

* I think HRA stands for Health Reimbursement Account, or Arrangement.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics article on Health Spending Accounts describes HRAs and contrasts them with Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) and Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).  HSAs succeeded Medical Savings Accounts referred to in the article.

Confused yet?  If only the IRS were neutral when it comes to how we buy insurance or pay for medical care. Then these accounts would vanish.

See also John Goodman’s 2006 article in Health Affairs: Employer-Sponsored, Personal, And Portable Health Insurance and the section on realth reimbursement arrangements.

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Amendment 63 vs. the Unlicensed Vampire Alarmists

Does the Colorado Constitution guarantee the rights of violent criminals to be armed in prison or when released on parole? You might think so if you believe criticisms of Amendment 63.

Amendment 63 would prohibit the state from forcing you to buy a politician-approved health plan and protect your right to pay for medical care with your own money, rather than depending on a legal health plan.

Editorials by the Denver Post, the Grand Junction Sentinel, and the Aurora Sentinel have claimed that the Amendment would restrict the state’s ability to prevent medical professionals from practicing without a license. That sounds scary — as if the Amendment would allow a vampire to pose as a blood bank. But this accusation belongs with other Halloween tales.

Read the rest of this article at the Huffington Post: Amendment 63 vs. the Unlicensed Vampire Alarmists.

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