Category: Opinion

Opinion: Protecting patients central to physical, behavioral health reforms

By Michael Lott-Manier For just a moment, forget the politics of health care reform they wont go anywhere, I promise. Picture a low-income family able to stay safe and whole, because a parent can afford to see a therapist for anger. Think about what it would be like if fewer people ended up in prison, and more of them in jobs, because they were able to get help for mental illness and addiction earlier in life. Your friend was struggling to stay in treatment for depression, but kept falling out when her yearly allotted visits were through; now she can…

Opinion: Obamacare problems much bigger than flawed websites

By Francis M. Miller In some religious faiths, if you die and it is not clear whether you belong in heaven or hell, you are left in limbo. Presently, the Affordable Care Act is in limbo. Democrats, particularly those up for re-election in 2014, desperately want the website to be fixed so that the state of grace will be returned. Republicans, on the other hand, are fueling Dantes inferno. We should stop and remember that all previous health care acts did not turn on the success of a website. Medicare, Medicaid, ERISA and OMBRA83 never required heavy technological support. To…

Opinion: Opposition to Affordable Care Act could have consequences for millions

By Bob Semro One of the most significant roadblocks to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act is the strident opposition that it faces. That opposition has been unrelenting and will have far-reaching impacts for millions of Americans for many, it will determine if they have access to affordable health care. There is a political component to the opposition, and it usually breaks along party lines, but the opposition shows that, after years of debate, there remains a strong philosophical, emotional and ideological divide around health care reform. Since passage of the law in 2010, the House of Representatives has…

Opinion: Rep. Polis needs to recall his commitment to health care justice

By Donna Smith Solutions last week reported that U.S. Congressman Jared Polis, D-Boulder, will seek waivers from the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare insurance purchase mandate for his constituents living in some of the mountain towns. These waivers would relieve many people from paying the high premiums for health insurance coverage available on the ACA exchanges that reflect the mountain counties overall wealth and health care costs. Many of the people who most need coverage in those communities cannot afford the high premiums. Rep. Polis is forgetting the simplest and most humane way to solve this problem is not to waive the requirement to purchase insurance coverage. The best way to solve the problem…

Opinion: Costs still out of control even if Obamacare succeeds

By Francis M. Miller The implementation of Obamacare is taking on the appearance of the fog of war described by Clausewitz . Obamacares advocatesare self-righteous in pressing for implementation. The loyal opposition conservatives are skirmishing and employing guerrilla tactics. They hope the law will fail of its own accord. The problem with this drama-of-the-gifted is that it obscures health cares central issue and begsseveral really important questions. By now even the most fervent advocate of Obamacare has to admit that this law will do nothing to bend the cost curve. Hyperinflation in the health sector has been the dominant issue for…

Opinion: Despite good intentions, women not achieving good health

By Sarah Mapes Over many decades and centuries, many things have changed about American families. One thing that hasnt is that when it comes to health and health care, women are in the drivers seat. In two-thirds of American households, women are the primary health care decision-makers. We are more likely to choose our familys health insurance plan. We ensure that our children get vaccines and regular check-ups, that our husbands take their heart pills and that our aging parents get appropriate long term care. We account for 80 cents of every dollar spent at drugstores and do most of the scheduling of medical…

Opinion: It’s worth paying doctors bonuses to improve quality

By Donna Marshall As of today, we have mailed checks totaling $79,240 to 201 physicians across Colorado for their care of patients in 2012. Its our way of thanking them for delivering optimal care, and it bodes well for their patients with chronic conditions. Traditional fee-for-service medicine rewards doctors and hospitals for providing more services. But for patients with chronic conditions, such as diabetes or cardiovascular problems, the point is to avoid costly services related to bad outcomes, such as emergency department visits or long hospital stays. Instead, the best approach is to keep patients as healthy as possible through…

Opinion: Noise over ACA shouldn’t distract seniors from Medicare enrollment

By Bob Semro If you are an American over 65, you may have questions about the new health care law, what it means for you and what you need to do. The short answer is that very little changes, and most seniors will not have to do anything. Some meaningful changes have already occurred, such as the shrinking of the prescription drug donut hole, but most of the major reforms in the Affordable Care Act, such as the new health insurance marketplaces and penalties for not having coverage, simply do not affect seniors. However, an important open-enrollment period (which has…

Opinion: Obesity, lack of preventive care a threat to Hispanics, Latinos

By Gretchen Hammer Infographic by Sarah Mapes The beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month creates the opportunity to reflect on the history and experiences of Hispanic and Latino Coloradans. Colorado has a rich Hispanic heritage with early settlers from Spain and Mexico establishing strong roots and thriving communities across the state in our early history . Today, according to the U.S. Census, over 1 million Hispanic and Latino residents live in Colorado, comprising our largest racial or ethnic group. Hispanic and Latino are ethnicities, referring to persons of Spanish or Latin culture or origin, regardless of race. The 2010 U.S. Census accounts for the diverse backgrounds…

Opinion: The tragedy of medical ethics

By Richard D. Lamm The difficulty of medical ethics and culture is that it allows, indeed it makes morally obligatory, practices and behaviors that increase health care spending without regard to other public priorities that get crowded out by the incessant demands of health care. To the extent medical ethics drive resource use, they do not give adequate moral guidance to the larger distributional decisions faced by government and other third party payers. Ironically to the extent that medical ethics drive marginal spending, they actually lower both the quality of life and well-being of the community. Key tenants of medical…