Category: Legislation - Part 16

Opinion: Ryan plan all about budget, but also health care overhaul

By Bob Semro Many people dont realize that the budget proposal put forth by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in April, is the also the most significant piece ofhealth care legislation since the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Even though the Ryan budget plan as now constructed is not likely to become law, it represents an official alternative and warrants real debate. Most of the conversation has centered on changes to Medicare, but the impact on other federal health care programs and the Affordable Care Act itself is even more profound. Heres how…

Opinion: Health care exchange key bipartisan legislative victory of 2011

By State Sen. Betty Boyd Americas health care system is good in many ways, but affordable and easy to navigate it is not, especially for Coloradans in the individual and small-group health insurance markets. Thats why Republican Rep. Amy Stephens and I set aside political differences this session to pass Senate Bill 200 creating the Colorado Health Benefits Exchange. The health exchange is a bipartisan, uniquely Colorado solution to the challenges in the health care industry in our state. In fact, it is the only exchange bill in the country to have passed through split chambers, a testament to Colorados…

Opinion: Parents should value children’s health more than sweets and booze

By Brian T. Schwartz Would you donate to a charity that allows parents well over the poverty line to pay just $25 per year for their childs medical insurance? What if many recipients previously paid for such insurance themselves, and spend hundreds of dollars a year on booze, sweets and entertainment? If you pay Colorado taxes, youre forced to fund such a charity the state-run Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+). Senate Bill 11-213 , which is awaiting the governors signature, would increase CHP+ enrollment fees for the wealthiest of eligible households, and rightly so. Families earning up to 250 percent of the Federal Poverty Level are…

Opinion: Hickenlooper should veto health fees for kids

By Adela Flores-Brennan and Gretchen Hammer The legislature recently sent a bill to the governor that represents a step in the wrong direction for Colorados children. SB 213 creates monthly premiums in the Child Health Plan Plus (CHP+) program for kids who have family incomes between 206 percent and 250 percent of poverty. These are families of four who earn about $46,000 to $56,000 a year. As a matter of public policy and as a matter of fiscal policy, SB 213 makes little sense and is indeed harmful. The bill will add to the number of uninsured children in Colorado,…

Opinion: Time is now to build a model health exchange

By Steve ErkenBrack The complexity of purchasing health insurance has become almost overwhelming. What will you need? Whats a fair price? Is the lowest price the best value? How can you evaluate the quality of coverage? Large employers have human resources departments to sort through the maze of choices, but no such help exists to simplify the choices for individuals and small employers. Brokers do a terrific job, but the panoply of options and the uniqueness of each consumer defy simplification. For that reason, every serious health care reform effort in recent years has recommended the development of a health…

Red-state Utah’s health exchange model for Colorado

By Lois M. Collins SALT LAKE CITY, Utah Sharon Opfermann wanted to provide health insurance for the handful of full-time staff members at the doggy day care and boarding business she operates in South Salt Lake, but it wasnt very easy to pull off. The one-size-fits-all plan she first picked didnt serve each employee equally well. And it was expensive. When she got a chance to enroll her business, Camp Bow Wow, in the Utah Health Exchange a couple of months ago, she jumped at it. Shes paying the same amount toward employee health benefits, but each member of her…

‘Amycare?’ ‘Bettycare?’ Colorado’s health exchange headed for final passage

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon Colorados health insurance exchange bill is sailing toward final approval with backers hailing the measure as the only successful bipartisan exchange legislation in the country. The measure garnered initial approval in Colorados Republican-controlled House on Tuesday evening. It will need final approval in both the House and Senate, but backers are confident that they will win final passage on what theyre calling landmark legislation. Democratic Gov. John Hickenloopers aides quietly have muscled lawmakers into supporting the bill behind the scenes and the governor is expected to sign the measure. An unprecedented bipartisan coalition of business advocates, health industry…

Colorado No. 2 in increased rate of childhood obesity

By Diane Carman Colorado once again laid claim to being the fittest of the 50 states in 2010 with an obesity rate of 19.1 percent well below the national figure of 34 percent. When the statistics were released last summer, the chorus of self-congratulations could be heard from the Cherry Creek trail to the top of Mount Bierstadt. Behind those numbers lurks the specter of a far different future for the state, however. Childhood obesity here appears to be out of control. Lisa Piscopo, vice president of research for the Colorado Childrens Campaign, crunched the latest numbers from the National Survey of Childrens Health and…

Colorado No. 2 in increased rate of childhood obesity

By Diane Carman Colorado once again laid claim to being the fittest of the 50 states in 2010 with an obesity rate of 19.1 percent well below the national figure of 34 percent. When the statistics were released last summer, the chorus of self-congratulations could be heard from the Cherry Creek trail to the top of Mount Bierstadt. Behind those numbers lurks the specter of a far different future for the state, however. Childhood obesity here appears to be out of control. Lisa Piscopo, vice president of research for the Colorado Childrens Campaign, crunched the latest numbers from the National Survey of Childrens Health and…

Budget fun: play a game and understand why Colorado’s billion dollar shortfall will hit health hard

Want a fun diversion? Play the budget game. Zachary Barr of Colorado Public Radio makes it simple to understand why Colorados health programs and higher ed will take big hits as lawmakers slice and dice to balance the budget this year.