$500,000 Commission Created to Cure Health Care Exchange Cost Epidemic

April 25, 2014

Sen. Kevin Lundberg

Sen. Kevin Lundberg

DENVER – Questions abound about the viability of the state’s health exchange, Connect for Health Colorado. After the exchange and Obamacare kicked in last year, 335,000 private insurance policies were cancelled, costs of health care premiums skyrocketed and enrollment fees are increasing.

Connect for Health Colorado thwarted a thorough state audit, but some answers may be forthcoming if a renewed effort for an audit is authorized. In addition, the Senate passed a measure Friday that would form a commission to diagnose why so-called affordable health care is a myth.

Senate Bill 187 passed on a 23-12 vote with Republican Sens. Larry Crowder of Alamosa, Bernie Herpin of Colorado Springs, Steve King of Grand Junction, George Rivera of Pueblo and Ellen Roberts of Durango voting ‘yes’ with the Democratic lawmakers.

“It’s very apparent to me, and it’s not a surprise to me, that the costs of health care have not gone down,” said Roberts, who cosponsored SB 187 with Sen. Irene Aguilar (D-Denver).

The cost “is unsustainable,” said Roberts, citing the financial burdens inflicted on individuals and families, large and small businesses and the state and federal governments.

Funding a $500,000 study won’t solve the problems of Obamacare and the state exchange, said Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud).

The commission study is akin to “rearranging the deck chairs on a ship that is sinking,” said Lundberg.

“Senate Bill 187 kind of reminds me of Senate Bill 200 back in 2011” that created the state exchange, Lundberg said. “We were assured this will put it in our control so we can find those solutions that are Colorado specific.”

“This is not affordable health care,” Lundberg said. “People cannot afford to go to the doctor, let alone to the hospital. You can’t afford to get sick.”

Not only did the cost of premiums increase, Lundberg noted that the out-of-pocket expenditures for policyholders climbed as high as $10,000 because of higher insurance deductibles over the past year.

SB 187 would allocate $500,000 to establish the Colorado Commission on Affordable Health Care comprised of 12 voting members appointed by Gov. John Hickenlooper and leadership in the House and Senate, along with five nonvoting members from state governmental agencies.

The commission would study health care costs and make recommendations to resolve the problems before July 1, 2017. The legislature previously created “The Blue Ribbon Commission for Health Care Reform” charged with a similar mission to lower medical care and coverage costs in 2006.

If the bill is passed by the House and signed into law, Roberts said it doesn’t promise to resolve every problem, but it’s a start.

“I am not satisfied personally to just say repeal Obamacare, as much as I don’t like it,” said Roberts, who asked how it would be replaced. “That is the question.”

Aguilar and three fellow Democrats on the Senate Health and Human Services Committee killed a bill in March to authorize a thorough audit of Connect for Health Colorado exchange.

However, earlier this month Lundberg gained bipartisan support on the Senate floor to successfully amend the Long Bill to include the audit in the state’s budget – despite Aguilar’s protests.

Comments made by visitors are not representative of The Colorado Observer staff.

7 Responses to $500,000 Commission Created to Cure Health Care Exchange Cost Epidemic

  1. Conservative
    April 26, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Half a million dollars for these government lackeys to chatter amongst themselves – again. Gads!

    Here’s a better idea – toss all these useless politicians in November and get some people in there that can make a real difference.

    Repealing SB200 would be a fine start.

  2. Dave
    April 26, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    Ha ha
    Bernise Hairpin, the Colorado Springs RINO

  3. Robyn Parker
    April 28, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    Kicking the can down the road. Three years to make recommendations? And then what? Meanwhile people die; people get sick; people go without insurance. This solution is NOT solving the health care crisis.


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