Category: Opinion - Part 11

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: Immigrants bring valuable skills to health care system

By Susan Downs-Karkos Each year Colorado becomes the new home to immigrants and refugees from across the world, bringing a vast diversity of experience and perspective to our state. Their health care interactions have continued to demonstrate the need to strengthen health literacy, health system navigation and health promotion activities among newcomer populations while working with the health care system to consider the implications for services. Integrating into a new community is never easy, and differences in language and culture typically make the task a stressful one. Of all the community institutions immigrants and refugees have to learn to navigate,…

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: Fibromyalgia patients seek acceptance, not ignorance

By Lannette Johnson Barriers to care in the fibromyalgia population are many. Not only do we consistently deal with physicians who refuse to believe that our condition is real, and insurance companies whose drug formularies dont include FDA-approved medications for FM treatment, we also deal with the high costs of this complicated condition to our careers, family lives and our mental health. Before I wrote this article, I checked to see if there were any other references to fibromyalgia on the Health Policy Solutions website. There were none. And only two articles that specifically mentioned chronic pain patients. Is this…

Opinion: A balancing act

By Molly Pond As a registered dietitian, I have made it my work to help people define and move toward a healthful lifestyle. One aspect of that is a balanced diet. Four good starting points for people to consider in creating a balanced diet are: energy, macronutrients, food groups and fun foods. Energy balance describes the relationship between the energy we consume in the form of food and that we expend through our daily activities and exercise. One aspect of a balanced diet is making sure we are eating the right amount not under-eating or overeating. To achieve this balance,…

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…

Opinion: The false promise of health care compacts

By Bob Semro The latest buzzword among those determined to undermine federal involvement in everything from health care to environmental regulation is compact. Take, for example, House Bill 1273 (the so-called HOPE Act), which recently passed the Colorado House and will be heard in the Senate early this week. It is supposed to be about allowing Colorado to design the health care regulatory regime that best meets the needs of its citizens. In reality, its about opting out of the national health care reform law with nothing to replace it. The idea for HB 1273 didnt originate in Colorado, and…

Opinion: Health care integration = WHOLE health care

By Donald J. Mares It is no secret that there is a strong connection between the mind and body. Religious leaders, philosophers, doctors and many others have discussed the mind/body connection for centuries. Yet the treatment of mental and physical health has been compartmentalized in modern Western medicine. In the United States, there are two systems of care: the behavioral health system and the physical health system. These systems are perpetuated through insurance reimbursements, through laws, medical education and many other cultural and social institutions. The distinction between mental and physical health is both a product and promoter of the…