Category: Opinion - Part 2

Opinion: The most important health initiative in Colorado history

By Dr. Jan Kief Gov. John Hickenlooper recently announced the most important and ambitious public health initiative in Colorados history. The State of Health Initiative aims to make Colorado the healthiest place to live in the United States. We at the Colorado Medical Society fully support the initiative and will be working to support its objectives through wide-ranging efforts from the 7,500 physicians, medical students and Colorado residents in our membership. The State of Health Initiative is a comprehensive, statewide effort that brings together the governors office, physicians and other health care providers, government agencies, nonprofits, private companies and the…

Opinion: The perils of privatizing health care American-style

By Donna Smith As health systems around the world grapple with the increasing costs of providing health care for their citizens, far too many are considering more extensive privatization of their systems to emulate the U.S. health care model. This is a mistake not only from an economic perspective but also from a human rights and public health position. As one of the people deeply injured by the profit-driven U.S. health system and as a professional advocate for a universal, public model that provides health care without financial barrier, I know that more privatization of any health system allows for…

Opinion: Not so invincible — young people confused about Obamacare

By Danielle Robbio Contrary to what many in the media may believe, young people do care about the implementation of Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But just like many other people in America, many of us may be confused about its provisions, which may apply to us and how. Though I am a senior at Boston University and have studied health policy, I acknowledge that I do not understand everything I may need to know about the new law. Even my classmates pursuing careers in medicine and related fields lack a true understanding of health reform, and while intrinsically…

Opinion: Worse health in Denver despite robust health care system

By Aubrey Hill Summer in Denver abounds with fun opportunities: Rockies games, festivals, farmers markets, outdoor movies and parks that cover 4,000 acres of the city. Denver is consistently named one of the healthiest cities in the country, and its easy to see why especially when you factor in its robust health care system of 12 hospitals, dozens of safety net clinics and nearly 3,500 doctors. Despite outward appearances though, the data show that Denver residents are actually in worse health. In fact, the data on Denvers population in general is quite striking. Overall, a higher percentage of Denver residents…

Opinion: Who is to blame for rising health costs?

By Robert Smith Princeton economics professor Uwe Reinharts strident New York Times editorial about the ultimate party responsible for out-of-control health care costs properly emphasizes the employers crucial role in the health care system. U.S companies, nonprofits and government entities pay for the majority of our health care costs. They have been the sloppiest purchasers of health care in the world, he writes, because they have passively paid for just about every health care bill put in front of them. Employer passivity has supported an opaque and chaotic pricing system, inappropriate incentives, rampant medical inflation, waste and lagging quality. Employers pay the largest portion…

Opinion: Cuts to Medicare Part B will hurt older Coloradans

By Ron Haberkorn I proudly enlisted in the U.S. Army and fought in Vietnam, but my longest and biggest battle has been against lupus. I was diagnosed in 1981. Little was known then about lupus and it still remains a mystery in the medical community today. Unfortunately, there is no known cure. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect various parts of the body, especially the skin, joints, blood, kidneys, lungs, heart, nervous system and/or other body organs or systems. It acts as if the body is allergic to itself. It is estimated that over 20,000 Coloradans and 1…

Opinion: The cost curve on health care – it’s bending

By Bob Semro The biggest long-term concern with the American health care system is cost. The affordability of premiums, access to care and the impact of Medicare and Medicaid on state and federal budgets are all linked to the ever-rising costs of health care. Unless we bend the cost curve, the nations health care system will become increasingly unsustainable. The good news is that, even though costs and spending continue to increase, we have started to see a slowdown. Over the years, the news on this front has been consistently bad. For 31 of the last 40 years, health care…

Opinion: The pot calling the kettle black on Obamacare

By Francis M. Miller During the past month several reports have been published on cost variations in the health care system. Among medical providers, there is clear evidence of wide differences in costs and utilization both across geographic regions and institutions. When the Colorado 208 Commission studied the issue, it also found that there were great variations among what insurers, the government and individuals pay. And, recently, the Colorado Division of Insurance analyzed insurance proposals for the health exchange. Again, wide variations in insurance premiums are being proposed. Are such differences evidence of profiteering? Or, is this an opportunity for…

Opinion: Protecting Colorado health data while making costs transparent

By Tracey Campbell The news is riddled with stories of frustrations over the cost of health care and the lack of transparent information available to patients and employer purchasers. Look at the responses to the recent Time magazine article about bloated hospital costs, and the release of Medicare information about the wide variations in hospital pricing. Consumers are aghast at high and wildly varying prices, especially in light of little information about quality. The Colorado All-Payer Claims Database (APCD) is an essential tool for identifying differences in price and quality, and enabling consumers to shop for health care services in a free and transparent market….

Opinion: Consumer revolution needed for real health care reform

By Francis M. Miller The launching of the exchange in October is taking on the appearance of the Kentucky Derby. The insurance companies are in the gates and the uninsured, if you believe Connect for Colorado ads, are drinking mint juleps and wearing big hats. I view all of this with a jaundiced eye. There is no doubt that health care has been on a slippery slope for years and the rocks at the bottom spell market failure. We have no other choice than to attribute the source of this failure to the players in the market. We place blame…