In the last couple of weeks, both in your op ed piece of two weeks ago and
in your editorial cartoon in this past week, you have done the voters of
Colorado a disservice by your misrepresentation of Amendment 69. In your
op-ed piece you described ColoradoCare as a “governmental entity.” It
may be splitting hairs, but in reality ColoradoCare would be a taxpayer-owned
cooperative, much like the Rural Electric Cooperatives and Credit Unions, and
not a “governmental entity.” Beyond that point you suggested that
businesses would abandon the state because of the cost of ColoradoCare. What
you failed to point out is that paying 10 percent for health care is, in
reality, a savings to employers as the average of all U.S. employers' health
benefit costs is actually 13.5 percent of payroll costs. Indeed, the independent
economists who analyzed the ColoradoCare plan, Gerald Friedman and I. J.
Miller, found that ColoradoCare will alter spending in such a way that there
will be a net gain of 31,721 jobs in the state in 2019 directly attributable
You did mention, correctly, that Colorado's uninsured rate has dropped from
greater than 15 percent to 6.7 percent under the Affordable Care Act. Unfortunately the
underinsured rate has risen to 16 percent, underinsured being defined as people who
have to spend more than 10 percent of their income to meet their health care needs.
Your conclusion is that 6.7 percent of the population is not enough to “double the
state budget,” but perhaps knowing that more than one in five Colorado
residents are at serious financial risk because of our current system will
make us realize that more needs to be done.
Much of the problem, with both our old free market health care system and
with the Affordable Care Act, has been the lack of transparency in medical
care. You could not walk into your local hospital and get a price for that
MRI of your low back, because the price varies with different insurances and
costs the most for those who are uninsured. You could not get a price for an
office visit because the price depends on factors such as are you a new or
established patient and how “critical” is this visit. When we put the
transparency in, we discover that the cost of the current insurance industry
to the state of Colorado is $31.2 billion. The cost under ColoradoCare would
actually be reduced to $26.7 billion for a net saving of $4.5 billion. And,
as a bonus, our uninsured rate in the state would drop to zero. Unlike the
suggestion in your op-ed piece, we know this is not an untried system. The
industrialized nations around the world, apart from ours, have variations on
this system, and they work so well that they provide health care with both
better outcomes and far lower costs than we have so far done in the U.S.
Vote “yes” on Amendment 69. Sincerely,
Richard Gingery, M.D.