Just as we learn that health insurance premiums in Colorado have increased by 11% for the third straight year (followed by a 22% increase in 2002), the blue ribbon commission has narrowed down it’s options to four proposals. What are they aiming for? I would say the most important factor, even above efficiency, is a plan that is moderate and politically viable.
In order of their proposal number, the final four selections are…
Better Health Care for Colorado, from the Service Employees International Union (proposal #2). This plan puts a cap on premiums for people who don’t make a certain amount of money. It then creates a high-risk insurance pool to lower the premiums of people who might be uninsurable because of pre-existing health conditions. This ensures a more complex system of health insurance premiums based on income with various amounts of subsidisation.
Solutions for a Healthy Colorado (proposal #5), from the Colorado State Association of Health Underwriters. This proposal would require all Coloradoans to have health insurance, it would increase Medicaid reimbursement rates, and have a “Core Benefit Plan” that all carriers would offer with guarantee issue and modified community rating. This is the plan I support because it has the best mix of efficiency and political reality built into it.
A Plan for Covering Coloradans (proposal #12), from the Committee for Colorado Health Solutions. This plan requires all Colorado residents to have health insurance, it will require employers to contribute to employee coverage or else pay a “reasonable assessment”. Then it would create a purchasing pool that will replace existing individual, small-group and large-group markets. There would be subsidies for all Coloradans at or below 400 percent of poverty level.
Colorado Health Services Program (proposal #16), from the Health Care for All Colorado Coalition. This plan creates a single, publicly funded program for the financing, deliver and administration of health care. The program will govern and administer the program like a public utility, and establish a health trust insulated from the general state budget.
When the 24 members voted on their favorite plans, proposal #12 got the most votes and is thought to be the most “moderate” proposal of the original 31. It’s likely that the final plan won’t be one of these exact plans though. The members may take some of the best points of each plan and combine them into a “Super Health Plan for Colorado”.