Summit Daily letters to the editor: Support for ColoradCare
May 10, 2016
Correcting the record on ColoradoCare
There were a few errors and misleading statements in Tim Orwick's article on ColoradoCare, Amendment 69, on Wednesday, May 4.
The premium taxes collected for ColoradoCare are based on providing full coverage for everyone and paying providers competitive wages similar to what most are making now — without having to fight with insurers to get paid. These taxes cannot be raised without a public referendum. These taxes REPLACE what we are now paying for health-insurance premiums, deductibles and uncovered health-care services.
Many providers support of Amendment 69.
The American Journal of Public Health published this week an article signed by 2,280 physicians proposing a universal health-care program for the U.S. "Moving Forward From the Affordable Care Act to a Single-Payer System," by Adam Gaffney, M.D.; Steffie Woolhandler, M.D., M.P.H.; David U. Himmelstein, M.D.; Marcia Angell, M.D. American Journal of Public Health, June 2016, Vol. 106, No. 6, online first May 5, 2016, 1 p.m. Eastern. Includes link to full Physicians' Proposal.
Oncologists have also shown strong support for universal coverage in their publications.
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Another correction, though not related to ColoradoCare: Colorado Health Op was not a state entity but a privately-organized cooperative that failed because promised subsidies from the ACA law were not fulfilled to allow start-up insurers to survive the first few years until they could be financially stable.
Dr. Christine Ebert-Santos, MD, MPS
Physician for Amendment 69
Physicians for ColoradoCare (I am a member) see Amendment 69 as Colorado's chance to show the other 49 states how to get it done. Administration now takes 30 percent of all health-care dollars. United Health's CEO went home with a $6 million paycheck last year. And we have to get a House bill established to understand why Summit County health insurance costs are amongst the highest in the country? Who is sailing the ship?
Every other developed country in the world provides health care to its citizens. They see health care as necessary for the citizens as education and highways. All have far more regulated insurance or have eliminated medical insurance completely. Medical insurers know their days were numbered, and they are intent on taking all they can. Don't be surprised if the HB answer is "because they could."
Just one example of how broken the system is now: When I was a curious patient, my vitamin D test was billed at $267; but, when it was rebilled (six calls later) for my established deficiency, it cost $26. Physicians make up only 9 percent of the health-care costs today; yet, there is no control over the secondary thieves of medicine-insurance, lab, x-ray, hospital and, yes, universities. Health care today is big-dollar business. Built off the backs of us clients who pay premiums, copays, deductibles and co-insurance. I alone will pay $12,850 this year if I want my Kaiser bronze plan to kick in and help 50 percent. What?!?
Some worry about long lines and denied care. Others fear that government (a non-profit business) will make your medical payments. Many see the profit-driven medical insurance companies as more reasonable than a local, state-run premium collection and payment program. Remember, the four top insurers — Aetna, United, Humana and Cigna — last year proposed mega-mergers, so they could get even more powerful (those sensitive, caring individuals at your health-care company located in New Jersey).
Just Google it — find out how much PROFIT your insurance company made. If it is publicly-held, request a year-end report.
Learn about ColoradoCare (www.ColoradoCare.org). Health care tops the list of important issues of our time. Compare the cost to you (3.3 percent of income for you and your dependents, or 10 percent if self-employed) to all you pay with the present plan. Imagine a state where you, your children, your parents, your young neighbors, your coworkers and your whole community gets health care.
It is possible – look at the entire rest of the developed world. It will cost about 15 percent of the state residents more. We are asking them to accept it as socially imperative to create better community for all.
Physicians have long been blamed and silent. How loudly would you be willing to speak up against the one that pays you? But our time is now. We must transform the health-care payment system. I challenge you to educate, compare and imagine before your Nov. 8 vote. I proudly stand with Physicians for ColoradoCare.
Dr. Kristine Hembre, D.O.
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