Category: Opinion - Part 3

Opinion: Access to health care major issue for LGBT Coloradans

By Sarah Mapes Recently, the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Coloradans have been a major political issue nationally as well as locally. This legislative session, the passage of Senate Bill 13-011 legalized civil unions for same-sex couples in Colorado after many prior attempts. In addition, the Division of Insurance made changes to current regulations to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. As we celebrate LGBT Pride Month in June, there are many more new opportunities for Colorados LGBT community than in years past. However, there is still much work to be done to ensure that LGBT Coloradans have access to the care they need to…

Opinion: Colorado economy depends on drug innovation

By April Giles Gov. John Hickenlooper recently highlighted the vital work of Colorados biopharmaceutical industry. Weve had over 3,000 clinical trials of new medicines since 1999, he said. They allow health care providers new opportunities to predict, pre-empt and prevent illness. It was a timely reminder. Our state hosts more than 600 bioscience firms and employs over 122,000 Coloradoans in direct and indirect jobs. A new report by the Analysis Group titled Innovation in the Biopharmaceutical Pipeline: A Multidimensional View shows that thousands of promising new drugs are in development, but we need to ensure that these promising innovations arent…

Opinion: Questioning the role of medicine in good health

By Francis M. Miller In 1872, John Wesley Powell, the one-armed Civil War major, who hadled the 1869 descent of the Grand Canyon, was carefully guiding his horse through the sagebrush on the Colorado Plateau of the Great Basin. Powells first encounters with Indians in that vast aridregion generated a fascination that lasted a lifetime.On this triphesought an understanding of the Numa who consisted of the Paiute, Ute and Shoshone tribes.Even in the late 19th century, these peoplewere living a stone-age existence and contact with Europeans had been minimal. Powelldiscovered two things on that tripthat stunned him. Itdominated his thinking…

Opinion: Spend money on universal care not costly exchange

By Dr. Thomas Gottlieb Coloradans need health care. Its a basic human right. Yet as we get more information about Colorados new health insurance exchange, it seems less certain that people will get the health care they need. The exchange, also called a marketplace, seems more complex every day. I wonder if Coloradans who need the help most will even be able to understand this new system, much less figure out how to get care. There is a simple solution.We need universal health care, specifically a public single-payer health system that would assure all of us who need care can…

Opinion: The Year of Mental Health at the Colorado Legislature

By Michael Lott-Manier Colorados 69th General Assembly convened in January in the shadow of heartbreaking tragedies in Aurora and in Newtown, Conn. Gov. John Hickenlooper and legislators from both parties expressed the desire to respond to a perceived connection between these atrocious crimes and serious mental illness. Mental Health America of Colorado (MHAC), as it has done for 60 years, met with legislators and lobbyists to educate them about mental health. We reminded them that the vast majority (96 percent) of violent crimes are not committed by individuals with mental health conditions, that connecting violence and mental health in public policy further stigmatizes an already…

Opinion: Colorado health care consumers celebrate legislative victories

By Debra Judy The Colorado Consumer Health Initiative is celebrating the end of the Colorado legislature because the takeaway is Colorado health care consumers win big this session! For all of us, getting the care we need, when we need it isnt too much to ask. So we were delighted that Colorados legislators and Gov. John Hickenlooper really took this idea to heart this year as they helped move toward barrier-free access to quality and affordable health care for all Coloradans. Sponsored by Rep. Beth McCann and Sen. Irene Aguilar, the bill to modernize stop-loss health insurance is an important step toward stabilizing and…

Opinion: Making sense of variation in health care pricing

By Phil Kalin For those of us who have been in health care for a while, Medicares recent release of hospital data identifying substantial variation between prices charged and actual payments isnt news. Nor is the fact that charges for similar services by one hospital can be vastly different from those of the one down the road. Health insiders have known for years that the amounts charged by hospitals have little or no relationship to what is actually paid. Making the data public for the first time, however, does give us an opportunity to review Medicare payments alongside amounts being…

Opinion: The ethical slippery slope of assisted suicide

By Dr. Anthony Vigil While New Mexico and other states are grappling with the question of whether to allow doctors to write prescriptions for drugs that terminally ill patients can take to commit suicide, countries such as Belgium and The Netherlands are pushing the envelope in distressing ways. For those who claim there is no evidence of a slippery slope in abuse of physician-assisted suicide once implemented, I offer several problems presented by the Belgium and Netherlands experiments. In these countries, it is legal for physicians to directly euthanize patients. For example, within the last 10 years, several patients who…

Opinion: Get covered or run for cover

By Francis M. Miller The script for the Colorado Health Benefits Exchange is beginning to read like the storyline of Gilligans Island. It all started as a three-hour tour. From the outset the debate has centered on whether Colorado should set up its own exchange or have the feds do it for us. So far, 13 states, including Colorado, have opted to set up state-run exchanges. More than half the states, 26 of them, are refusing to participate and the feds will have to run it out of Washington, D.C. This has pretty much divided along party lines with Republican-led…

Opinion: Health care just around the corner

By Francis M. Miller Indeclaring Americanindependence, our founders sought to eliminate two perverse forms of tyranny that had ruled private lives for centuries. The monarchy and the church had become corrupt andwere oppressive. My great-great-grandfather immigrated from Poland. Peasants therewere not even allowed to pick up dead tree limbs for firewood. As Walter McDougall, the historian, wrote in Freedom Just Around the Corner, these medieval systems were never reformed. They werereplaced when the peasants dropped their hoes, walked out of the fields andboarded ships to America. The18th centurymindset of ourfounding fathers did not envision predatory global corporations or the massive…