Letter to the editor: I hope our leaders recommend against a public health option | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: I hope our leaders recommend against a public health option

Debra Irvine

I recently attended a stakeholder meeting hosted by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing regarding a public option for health care. I’m grateful the state is taking time to listen to stakeholders about this because health care is a primary concern of many Coloradans.

While I understand the temptation of a public option, I think it’s ultimately a bad idea. I don’t believe a public option will solve existing problems, and it would actually exacerbate them.

Colorado ranks ninth in the country for health care performance, including access, quality, service use and costs of care, health outcomes and other metrics. Yet, since the introduction of “Obamacare,” from 2009 to 2017, average deductibles in Colorado have almost doubled and premiums have risen about 50%. Same narrative across the country.

A public option doesn’t guarantee better or more accessible care. People sometimes look to Europe regarding health care. I lived 25 years in Europe, and I saw government-run health care firsthand. I’m concerned the actual end goal is a single-payer system, which would be even worse.

When my Italian family members were hospitalized, relatives took turns ensuring that loved ones received proper care, from clean bed linens to appropriate personal hygiene. In Belgium, the mother of my Belgian friend was in rehabilitation for hip surgery.  The state-run clinic provided only one small daily meal on the weekend, so her daughter had to provide the additional meals. This isn’t quality service; it’s the bare minimum.

When I hear public option, I think of the Department of Veterans Affairs and its decades of problems. The VA’s problems have been identified: lack of prompt and effective care, accountability, etc. Is this what we want for all Coloradans?

A public option creates more problems than it solves. I hope our leaders hear our voices and recommend against a public option.

Editor’s note: Irvine is running for Colorado State Senate District 8.

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