Another draft of a proposal to reform Colorado’s health care system was approved on Monday by the Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Care Reform. That makes five proposals that have been approved for consideration so far. The Commission will recommend a final version of Colorado’s health care reform, hopefully within the next few months. The Lewin Group will analyze the final numbers and try to reconcile the recommendations with Colorado’s budget. The goal is to find a way to insure the 780,000 (or 1.4 million, depending on how you look at the numbers) Coloradoans who currently have no health insurance.
Of the five proposals that are currently being considered by the commission, two would require all Colorado residents to have health insurance, much like Hillary Clinton’s national proposal. Both plans include state subsidies for residents who cannot afford to pay for health insurance. The third plan would establish a state-run, single-payer system for all Colorado residents. The fourth plan would expand current state-run health insurance programs, and also provide for a large health insurance purchasing pool. The fifth proposal would extend Medicaid eligibility to families earning up to 200% of the poverty level (250% for people with disabilities).
Regardless of what plan is recommended by the commission (and assuming that they have time to get through everything), it’s vital that people no longer have a choice to go without health insurance. For people who struggle to find the money to pay premiums, it looks like the state is going to provide as much help as possible, with any of the proposed solutions. But we cannot continue to have people who can technically afford health insurance choose to go uninsured. By insuring everyone, we spread the risk pool out over more people, we have more people paying premiums (including the perfectly healthy people who might not have paid premiums in the past, and who aren’t as likely to file claims), and hopefully a lower per-person cost for health insurance. It will be interesting to see what the commission comes up with, and I’m glad that Colorado is one of the states that has chosen to tackle the problem of a significant uninsured population.