News - Part 5

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…

REACH: Save your teeth and your health on Halloween

By Wyatt Hornsby Did you know tooth decay is the most prevalent chronic disease of early childhood in Colorado? Tooth decay is five times more common than asthma and can lead to painful cavities, missed schools days and many other problems affecting a childs development and self-esteem. The good news is that cavities are preventable in nearly every case. With Halloween and a season of sweet treats upon us, its important for parents to know how they can help protect their kids teeth from sugar bugs, which can lead to decay and painful cavities. Here are some tips for families…

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…

Exchange snafus linked to only 3,164 purchases so far

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon Just over 3,100 people purchased health insurance through Colorados new health exchange from Oct. 1 through Oct. 26, according to new data released Monday. Purchases on Connect for Health Colorado will need to pick up steam dramatically in the coming months if the new marketplace for public and private insurance is going to meet a mid-level goal of enrolling at least 136,000 people in new health plans in Colorado in 2014. Board members expressed dismay Monday that computer glitches both at the federal level and in Colorado may be preventing customers from purchasing health insurance. Without…

Under ACA, wellness dropouts could feel the burn

By Elise Oberliesen For decades, corporations have experimented with wellness programs in an attempt to improve their employees health and reduce the cost of health insurance. Lunch-hour yoga classes, free flu shots, smoking cessation programs and other offerings have often been provided, occasionally with incentives for participants. Now, as additional elements of the Affordable Care Act are implemented, organizations and their employees will have new encouragement to get in the game. Starting with health insurance policies effective Jan. 1, 2014, losing weight, controlling cholesterol, quitting smoking or even just attempting to achieve better health could be profitable. In some states,…

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…

Online tax credit system to go live Nov. 4

By Katie Kerwin McCrimmon Customers trying to use an online system to qualify for federal tax credits through Colorados health exchange will have to wait until Nov. 4. Managers at Connect for Health Colorado initially delayed the online feature until the end of October and in order to secure subsidies, customers have had to call clogged phone lines. Now, a spokesman said in a written response to questions that customers wanting to use the exchange website to cut their health insurance costs will have to wait until Nov. 4, the new target date for Colorado to have an online subsidy application. In the meantime, the only way…

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: 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…