In Colorado, the legislature’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Care Reform is currently reviewing 31 proposals from various business, union, and consumer groups trying to find a way to solve the state’s health care crisis. There are about 770,000 people in Colorado with no health insurance, and the state has joined a handful of others that are looking for a system that will insure everyone.
The plans on the table vary from requiring everyone to purchase individual insurance (with no more employer sponsored policies) to having the state provide insurance for everyone, along with a tax hike to cover the bill. I have previously outlined my vision for health insurance reform, and I see a lot of merit in several of the plans that are being considered by the Blue Ribbon Commission. Most of all, I like the fact that the state is formally addressing the dire need for health insurance reform in Colorado. With 17% of the state’s residents uninsured, something has to change.
The Colorado Nurses Association is proposing a state-run public health care system, which would increase the tax bill by about $5000/year for a family of four with a $58,000 income. I like the all-encompassing nature of a state-run plan (ie, no one is uninsured), but I don’t like the one-size fits all aspect of it. Jay and I are exceedingly healthy and go to great lengths to keep ourselves so. We pay $2900/year for our health insurance, and only use it for routine physicals. I do not want to start paying $5000/year in extra taxes in order to have a more comprehensive health insurance policy. I don’t need a comprehensive policy (we currently have a $3000 deductible HSA qualified plan) and want to continue to have the option to pay less for a high deductible, no frills policy. So for that reason, I like the plan that the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce has proposed, which would require everyone to purchase individual health insurance, but would allow employers to help pay the premiums. This would give people like us an opportunity to pay less money for less coverage. Those who would rather have a very comprehensive policy could still get one, and pay more for it.
If the Nurses Association’s proposal could include various levels of coverage and corresponding levels of taxation, I would be very much in favor of it. I feel very strongly that there should continue to be some sort of financial incentive for people who keep themselves healthy and don’t run to the doctor for every sniffle or upset stomach. Health insurance was never intended to pay for day to day visits to the doctor and low-cost medications.