Reasons your ColoradoCare Votes Countdown

New: Reasons #30-21

Reason #30: Research on best practices in care

Humans can’t help but innovate new and better ways to do everything, especially medical care. But with the healthcare system resembling a vast spider web of anthills, who do the private insurance companies look to for innovation? Medicare.

Especially with the latest trend of paying doctors and hospitals to take care of groups of people come what may, rather than paying for every individual procedure, those private insurance companies take their cues from a 50-year-old federal government program. Apparently, it’s the only reliable conductor of our national health orchestra.

Like Medicare, ColoradoCare would act as a central repository of best practices that it could promote more easily than a bunch of different companies going in as many different directions. Plus, because ColoradoCare’s job is to keep you healthy (rather than only making money off of you), it has incentive to pay for those procedures aligned with best practices. Vote for Amendment 69, and we can make sure good ideas for better care arrive at a doctor’s office near you.

Reason #29: Save time on billing paperwork

This one is easy. Ever seen those insane bills after a hospital visit? They dribble in one at a time and seem to have gone through one of those early computer translation programs. Because it would apparently be too hard for the doctor, the x-ray tech, and the pharmacist at the hospital to just put their heads together and send one bill. And while they’re at it, maybe just send it to the insurance company, not to you.

ColoradoCare will streamline this madness and redirect the money saved to better things. Vote for Amendment 69, and you can focus on the other stuff you got in the mail.

Reason #28: Change jobs without fear

People used to work for one or maybe two companies during their career. This made health insurance pretty easy. But in a modern business environment where entire economic paradigms change as frequently as fashion trends, we change jobs all the time.

That means crazy paperwork, and the dangerous possibility of a coverage gap, every time you say hello to a new job. It’s a pain, and it’s totally unnecessary. Vote for Amendment 69, and we can create a health plan for the modern world.

Reason #27: Don’t you dare (take my Medicare)!

What would happen if you found a group of seniors and told them they would be thrown off Medicare tomorrow? In the best case scenario, you’d have a shouting match on your hands, but more likely you’d have to go into witness protection, move to Rockford, Illinois, and change your name to something super generic like “Mitch Nelson.”

Yet some seniors forget that the only reason they have Medicare to begin with is that a bunch of smart, compassionate people decided to do the right thing and make it happen. And now, it’s time for the rest of us to also have smart, affordable health care we can count on. Once we pass ColoradoCare, people will love it just as much, since it’s basically just a state version of Medicare. Plus, folks with Medicare get to keep it, with ColoradoCare catching any costs Medicare doesn’t.

Vote for Amendment 69, because everyone, even Mitch Nelson, needs health care. And you probably don’t want to move to Rockford, Illinois, .

Reason #26: Save time as a state

Individuals stress out all the time about paying for and maintaining insurance coverage, but our state legislature also spends a fair amount of time patching our broken system, hoping this latest round of duct tape and chewing gum will get the jalopy to the next milepost.

ColoradoCare means a more streamlined system with lower costs and fewer problems, but it also sets the state legislature free to work on other pressing matters. Vote for Amendment 69, and it won’t just be you saving time and money.

Reason #25: Around the world

We hate to point it out, but America is basically the only rich democracy in the world with such a dumb health care finance system. There are some real doozies out there (looking at you, Switzerland!), but we’re even worse.

But you know what? Forget that. It only applies to people under 65. With Medicare, America is already kicking butt and taking names. Vote for Amendment 69, and we’ll spread the concept to everyone in Colorado.

Reason #24: Insurance hot potato

Check out this totally possibly scenario: You work a great job with great health insurance from January to June, then get laid off. You’re unemployed until September, when you get a new job with no insurance. But in November, you bail on that one for a better job with great benefits. Equilibrium restored.

Congratulations. You’ve been on four health plans in one year (employer, Medicaid, exchange, employer), and it’s a huge paperwork pain.

Unless of course you’re over age 65 and on Medicare. Then you’re just covered no matter what happens. Sound easier? Vote for Amendment 69 and everyone can join the party.

Reason #23: Evidence-based medicine

Our health system wastes a lot of money on “care” that you don’t really need. You’ve probably heard about needless testing, sometimes in the cause of “defensive medicine.” But sometimes this looks like needless surgery or other invasive procedures.

Besides being super expensive, this can also be hazardous to your health. Excessive testing can mean false positives, which leads to further unnecessary treatment and worry. And while medical procedures, on balance, make us better, opening up and messing around with human bodies is risky. There are possible allergic reactions to medications, the ever-present threat of infection, and the unlikely-but-certainly-possible risk of human error.

ColoradoCare will have the data and the incentive to put the kybosh on this. If they discover that some test or procedure produces a bad result more often than not, they’ll be in a position to discourage it. By the same token, if they ferret out some new best practice, they’ll be in a position to make sure doctors get paid to do it.

Vote for Amendment 69, and let’s bring evidence back into medicine.

Reason #22: You vote on management

Presidents and governors are no-brainers, but we Americans vote for everything under the sun. Seems like hardly a week goes by when you’re not asked to decide the makeup of the board of a special sewer district, cemetery district, electric co-op, county commission, municipal court judge, or silly walks ministry. About the only thing we don’t elect are dog catchers, though we used to.

And we like it this way. Public servants doing public service really should be under our thumb. Things tend to work better if they fear us.

But the people who pay for our health care? We have no say. Which is funny, because while the municipal court judge may put the screws to you over those moving violations, insurance companies can literally hold your life in their hands.

Seems like some extra accountability is in order. Vote for Amendment 69 and make sure it happens.

Reason #21: Avoid getting dumped

Perhaps you’re having a relaxing day and really enjoying yourself. Fall really is the best time in Colorado, so we don’t blame you.

What you don’t know is that your doctor may be conspiring to leave your insurance network. It’s nothing personal – just business. Sometimes providers have little choice but to eliminate the health insurers who fight them most on paying and, when they do pay, pay the least. You are an expendable bargaining chip. No hard feelings.

But it’s a pain. You may have to find a new doctor and bring them up to speed about your health history. Or you may have to really shop around for one you like. If you’re currently being treated for something, this could interrupt that process, hopefully not in a way that endangers your health.

It’s probably not the end of the world, but it sure is a dumb way to organize a health system.

Vote for Amendment 69 and stop wondering if your doctor is about to dump you.

Reason #40: Less redundancy in the system

Check this out: Every private insurance company in America has a team of people negotiating with health care providers. They cajole, they threaten, they negotiate. But most of all, they waste time, because that’s totally redundant and as needless as the ice delivery men of yore.

Medicare sets out a price it will pay and then lets providers take it or leave it. Overwhelming majorities of doctors take it. ColoradoCare will reimburse providers at rates significantly better than Medicare. Vote for Amendment 69, and we can end the insurers’ needless and redundant costs.

Reason #39: Death in the family won’t mean loss of insurance

Ever comfort a friend who just lost a parent or spouse? Did you check to make sure they got new health insurance? You probably should have.

The height of our current system’s complex cruelty is probably how it treats those who have just experienced a death in the family. But so long as your insurance is based on where you work, who your parents are, who you’re married to, and the overall size of your household, it has to be this way. You can guarantee that a blizzard of challenging and obnoxious paperwork will hit before the body is cold. How’s that for a grieving process?

ColoradoCare is insurance that covers you come what may. Vote for Amendment 69, and we can stop kicking people while they’re down.

Reason #38: Complaining will be much easier

With any health insurance system, (private, Medicare, Medicaid, the VA, Tri-Care, etc.) it’s occasionally necessary to lodge an assertive complaint and, if need be, fight them into submission. So the question is, which system would you rather deal with?

System A: A private insurance company, headquartered out of state, accountable to shareholders.

System B: A system administered by people in Colorado who you elect, with ombudsman offices set up to support both patients and providers.

Which system is more likely to answer a phone call or an email? Which system is most likely to respond to your needs long before you are forced to lawyer up?

The beauty of ColoradoCare and democracy in general is that, on some level, our leaders are afraid of us and what we can do to their long-term career prospects. Vote for Amendment 69, and we can bring that sort of accountability to those inevitable disputes over health care finance.

Reason #37: Latinos win

When navigating anything as complicated as the health insurance system, it helps to have a friend or family member show you the ropes and impress upon you the general importance of it all.

But Latinos are in a tough spot on this one: A large immigrant presence means large sections of the community have no experience navigating the American system, to say nothing of understanding the grad-school level English it involves. And while Latinos dominate hospitality and the construction trades, these sectors of the economy are the least likely to offer employer insurance. Throw in a generally higher poverty rate, and it’s no surprise that the Latino uninsured rate is much higher than other groups.

The health system should be about health, not whether the difference between an HMO and a PPO was a thing back in the motherland.

With ColoradoCare, everyone contributes, and everyone is covered, whether or not your parents lectured you about the importance of regular blood pressure checks or the savings to be had with generic drugs. Vote for Amendment 69, and erase the scandalous uninsured rate in the Latino community.

Reason #36: Prevention, prevention, prevention

We all know that catching problems early is a great way to save money and time. The principle works on cars, on gardens, and on human bodies.

But if you set up a health system that all-but-guarantees a certain percentage of the population will be uninsured, inflicts huge deductibles on everyone else, and shunts people into different health insurance plans, it’s no wonder this whole prevention business gets lost in the shuffle.

And just like with a car that never gets an oil change and a garden that never gets weeded, we pay more in the end. With ColoradoCare, we pay up front, then pay nothing extra to get basic primary and preventative care. Vote for Amendment 69, and we’ll get real about prevention.

Reason #35: A model for the nation

A certain light inferiority complex comes standard here in what the coastal elites derisively call “flyover country.” So get this: Passing ColoradoCare would succeed where they have failed. Not too shabby.

This alone is certainly not sufficient reason to vote for ColoradoCare (though the cost savings and universal coverage check that box nicely), but wouldn’t it be fun to stand up and show America how this is done?

We would be that laboratory of democracy. We would be John Winthrop’s shining city on a hill, with the eyes of all people upon us. And since we’re talking about Colorado, that “hill” would be more than 14,000 feet high. You’re welcome, John.

Reason #34: Small businesses win the recruitment game

Great employees are always bailing on small businesses because they can get better insurance at larger companies. They’re content at their jobs, and they perform well, but who can argue with affordable health insurance, especially if you have kids or some expensive chronic illness.

That’s stupid for all concerned, not least because it turns American business into a contest of who can get big the fastest and thus attract the best people not with a great product or service to sell, but with low deductibles. It’s an invisible tax that small businesses have been paying for years, and it should stop.

ColoradoCare means small businesses can compete for talent with the big dogs, rather than spending all their time worrying about losing good people for bad reasons. Vote for Amendment 69, and we’ll strengthen this critical part of our economy.

Reason #33: More effective mental health care

One important component of good mental health care is some level of continuity through life. It’s not like a broken leg, or some other ailment that can be patched up in one or two office visits.

You can imagine the problems our current system creates here: We drift in and out of insurance plans depending on our incomes and what jobs we happen to be working (even our marital status is a factor), and that can disrupt critical care by forcing a doctor switch and a new financial reckoning, all at exactly the wrong time.

Some medical problems can wait till we get on our feet again. Not so with mental health. Let’s vote for Amendment 69 and make sure critical care gets to the people who need it.

Reason #32: Covers pre-existing conditions

Wasn’t Obamacare supposed to ban insurance companies from discriminating against those with pre-existing conditions? Yes and no. The ban applies to the individual market (the so-called exchanges), but it’s still fully in place for larger group plans bought by businesses.

Big deal, you say: That’s their problem. Actually, it’s yours.

People with lots of medical problems end up costing businesses a ton of money, which means they have an incentive to not hire them in the first place, or look for another (actually legal) reason to fire them after the fact.

If you’re one of those people with an ongoing medical condition, that’s a big problem. But if you’re just one of their colleagues, you lose too. That’s because when good employees aren’t working jobs they’re qualified for, or fired for dumb reasons unrelated to performance, your workplace, and the larger American economy, are that much less efficient and productive.

Vote for Amendment 69, and end this heap of perverse incentives.

Reason #31: Research on cost-effective care

Insurance companies, to their credit, do spend a lot of time and energy finding ways to do more cost-effective care. But with comparatively small market share and an ever-changing group of “covered lives,” there’s not much incentive to look at the picture holistically.

ColoradoCare will have the motive and the opportunity to make sure we’re spending our money wisely. This will reduce waste and the likelihood that you’ll subjected to a test or procedure that you don’t need, with all the danger of infections of false positives that can bring. Let’s pass Amendment 69 and laugh all the way to the bank.

Reasons #50-41

Reason #50: Know the Price

Fueling up your car is the last step in a vast supply chain that stretches back to thousand-mile pipelines, giant refineries, trans-oceanic ships, multiple national jurisdictions, and dead, liquefied dinosaurs. It’s pretty impressive, and pretty complex, yet somehow they’re able to post the exact price on a big sign out front.

The same cannot be said for health care. That’s because each insurance company works out special deals with each medical provider, all behind closed doors. Naturally, all those details are proprietary, which strangles off the sort of price competition that we enjoy from other sorts of businesses where we can see the costs.

ColoradoCare sets out uniform rates for reimbursement of all types of medical work, which means providers will spend more time working out ways to deliver care more effectively and efficiently, rather than negotiating special side deals with insurance companies. They’ll also have more incentive to compete on customer service, since wider networks will mean we can more easily vote with our feet.

ColoradoCare opponents are foaming at the mouth about alleged socialized medicine, but in truth, a vote for Amendment 69 is a vote for the sort of healthy capitalistic competition that lowers prices and increases customer service.

Reason #49: No more siphoning by CEOs

The huge salaries paid to CEOs of health insurance companies are just a highly visible symptom of a larger problem. The true scandal is the massive redundant waste these companies bring to our health system, not one person’s salary. But still, those stories are super obnoxious.

It follows a pattern: Some insurance company pleads poverty, jacks up premiums and deductibles, but can still somehow scrounge up the cash to buy the CEO a new Lear Jet because the granite countertops in the old one were, like, so 2013. We’ve seen that movie and its annoying sequels before.

With ColoradoCare, stories of CEOs paid more per day than most Coloradans make in a year can get relegated to out-of-state news. Stick it in there with the other stories about tropical diseases, military juntas, shark attacks, and other things Coloradans need not worry about.

Reason #48: Better for business

If you’re like most people, you probably feel like you pay too much for health insurance. That’s totally valid, but odds are good that your boss is feeling even more pain. When costs go up, your company probably takes most of the hit. And they pay for that increase using the super-complex method of not paying you as much.

So here come the ColoradoCare opponents, huffing and puffing about the sheer horror of a 3.33 percent payroll deduction (6.67 percent for the employer) to pay for some trifling expense like health care. But odds are that your boss would look at those rates and think only one thing: “Sounds like a great deal.”

It’s a little premature, but perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to contemplate for a fleeting second what your employer might do with that extra savings. Dare we say, they might give you a raise? At the very least, you’ll be in a better position to ask for one. Vote for Amendment 69, and you may laugh all the way to the bank.

Reason #47: Quit worrying so much

With most of those annoying adult responsibilities that we trudge through every day (the ones we did not consider at age ten when we imagined adulthood to be all about staying up late and eating ice cream), there is at least a certain predictability around which we can plan. The driver’s license that must be painstakingly renewed has an exact expiration date on it. The mortgage will come every month, guaranteed. Taxes will be filed by April 15. You can count on it.

But health insurance is different. You might lose it at any time. Your company may drop it, you may change jobs away from it, you may divorce out of it, you may suddenly make too much money to qualify (Medicaid), or too little (the exchanges).

And so our march through adulthood must be overlaid with a sheen of worry. Any day, life may throw you off your insurance, setting off a headlong scramble to get covered again, so as to guard against the dire consequences of medical bankruptcy or other catastrophe. The process isn’t a disaster, exactly. More like a small dog that’s got ahold of your pants cuff and won’t let go.

Or you could vote for Amendment 69. You’ll still have to pay for health care, but it will be automatic and you’ll never get thrown off your plan. Adulthood thusly hacked, you can then eat your vegetables and go to bed early  (or not).

Reason #46: One network

This whole in-or-out of network feature of health insurance is annoying enough, but did you know that even if you do your homework and go to an in-network hospital, you may still find in there an out-of-network provider? It’s true, and has led to some nasty and expensive surprises.

We’ve set up a system where sick and injured people should probably, for the sake of their financial health, interrogate every doctor, x-ray tech and pharmacist about their network status before allowing them to render treatment. Because why shouldn’t health care resemble buying a used car?

That’s an option, at least. Or you could vote for Amendment 69 and go to whatever hospital you want.

Reason #45: Seriously, one network

Doctor networks are as weird as they are complicated. Insurance companies negotiate special deals with providers, and like snowflakes, no two networks are alike. Insurance companies say this cuts costs, and they’re not completely incorrect. But the downside is obvious: A doctor in your network might be a long drive away, especially if you live in a rural area. And if you have to change insurance for any reason, you might have to change doctors, too.

It’s also completely unnecessary. Medicare just sets a price they will pay and overwhelming majorities of doctors say “sure, come on down.” Providers sometimes even put up advertisements soliciting new Medicare patients (this is what ColoradoCare opponents call “fleeing the state”). Anyway, ColoradoCare would do the same thing.

So vote for Amendment 69, get those costs savings the insurance companies won’t shut up about, go to whatever doctor you want, and leave the word “network” to the computer geeks.

Reason #44: Stop kicking divorcing couples

Among the various vicious cruelties our health insurance system inflicts on a trusting populace, few are worse than the fate of the divorcing couple. On top of the enormous stress and emotional trauma (to say nothing of the occasional cases of outright abuse), people are summarily dumped off of their health insurance, generally the plan they got through their spouse’s employer. They have other options, of course, but they also have better things to be doing with their lives.

This situation is just asking for trouble. Some of the people going through tough life situations are inevitably going to let this insurance thing slip through the cracks, which means if they show up at an emergency room one day, we all get to pay for it.

Vote for Amendment 69, and we can fix a system that kicks people while they’re down and makes everyone else pick up the tab. Insurance should follow you through life, come what may, and ColoradoCare will.

Reason #43: Forget those dumb terms

Do you enjoy learning the definitions and eccentricities of terms like “explanation of benefits,”  “deductible,” “out-of-network,” “maximum annual out of pocket,” and “advanced premium tax credit?” We didn’t think so.

Life is complicated enough, and the private health insurance industry isn’t helping. They think if they make it all complicated enough, neither you or your doctor will have time to fight them to get them to pay, and they’ll win. They win a lot.

Vote for Amendment 69, and replace all those terms for one sentence: If you get sick, go to the doctor.

ColoradoCare will pay the bill, because everybody should win when you get the care you need.

Reason #42: Happily ever after

A wedding should be a happy occasion, but given the state of modern health insurance, it could mean a pile of extra paperwork, hassle, and possible penalties.

Adding a spouse to an employer plan is generally simple enough, especially if you don’t mind watching a lot more of your paycheck disappear before you even see it. But for those who buy insurance through the exchange or receive Medicaid, legally combining incomes could be a science project of epic proportions.

Whatever the new incomes is, it could end up falling on either side of some arbitrary income line for financial aid. That could mean changing your plan all together, or keeping a plan but changing a tax credit scheme to reflect the new reality. If you screw it up, it could mean a nasty surprise next time you file income taxes. So it goes.

There’s no reason to hit newly married couples with this nonsense. Under ColoradoCare, they would just keep working their jobs, keep paying for their health insurance through a payroll deduction, and keep going to their regular doctor.

They say marriage changes everything, but we can safely subtract health insurance from that everything. Vote for Amendment 69 and let’s give all Colorado couples a wedding present called convenience.

Reason #41: Everyone contributes, even the “invincibles”

Go ahead. Just try convincing a perfectly healthy 23-year-old of the urgent need to get health insurance. You know perfectly well that they’re one skiing accident away from hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. Heck, even a broken leg can cost $10,000. But this very real possibility doesn’t convince them.

And that checks out. Most of us were 23 once upon a time, and the odds of racking up a bunch of medical bills are real, but low. The fine for not having insurance is no fun, but it’s probably less than the cost of premiums. And if they get in a scrape, there’s no house or savings for the hospital to go after. It all spells a large, double digit uninsured rate for the younger set, which means we’ll all pay when they and their busted ACL show up at an emergency room.

ColoradoCare changes this by baking the cost of health insurance into the cake of working life. Everyone contributes, whether they think they’re immortal or not. Vote for Amendment 69, and we’ll end this silly little corner of guaranteed failure.

Reasons #60-51

Reason #60: Less bureaucratic mess at the doctor’s office

Ever wonder why there are so many people behind the desk at the doctor’s office? One reason is that insurance paperwork is so atrociously complex that doctors have to hire extra people to sort it all out. And while the doctor or hospital might sign the paychecks, rest assured that the money comes out of your account.

What do we get for this extra expense? Not a thing. It’s the medical equivalent of adding a few extra stoplights between intersections just for the hell of it.

If we vote for Amendment 69 and streamline this labyrinth of paperwork, we’ll all end up saving money.

Reason #59: Get help, not forms, when you’re sick

ColoradoCare spokeswoman and longtime public health nurse, State Sen. Jeanne Nicholson, once had to fill out health insurance paperwork before getting urgent treatment for alaphylactic shock. Many of us have been there: We take ourselves or loved one into urgent care or the Emergency Room only to have to sit filling out paperwork while either very sick or worried sick.

But it must be done, since your medical history has a big impact on your medical present. Taking medicine you’re allergic to, for example, won’t do anybody any good.

Wouldn’t it be easier to have a card with a chip that has everything on it? The doctor’s office would just scan it and you’d be done.

We thought so too, and that’s the plan for ColoradoCare. And since you and every other Coloradan will be covered with ColoradoCare, the hospital can relax too knowing they won’t be stiffed for the bill.

A vote for Amendment 69 is a vote for more efficient paperwork, fewer errors, and fewer scary allergic reactions. Get the care you need, rather than a clipboard full of forms, with ColoradoCare!

Reason #58: When insurance pays, it’s not a pleasant surprise

You’ve heard this before:

A friend or family member tells you about a health scare and some intensive round of medical treatment, then they either add that they’re fighting with an insurance company about paying for it, or grateful that the insurance company has taken care of it, as if this was a pleasant surprise rather than a foregone conclusion.

Situations like this are either scandalous or merely dumb, but we all understand the game. Medical care is expensive, and insurance companies don’t make their money by paying for it. They make their money by finding ways to not pay for it. And so we go through life unsure about whether insurance will insure. Exactly how the system is not supposed to work.

Vote for Amendment 69, and set it straight.

Reason #57: End job lock

People all over Colorado are working jobs they hate just because the insurance is good. Maybe they have a chronic illness, or maybe it’s a sick child that’s always top of mind. Whatever the reason, they are the victims of what economists call “job lock.”

But we’re not here to recommend a vote for Amendment 69 just to make these people’s lives easier. We’re here to recommend a vote for Amendment 69 to make your life easier.

That’s because people who hate their jobs are probably doing just enough to get by and are a huge pain to work with. You know the type, and we won’t get into details.

Suffice it to say that if people are working jobs that suit them, everybody wins. Vote for ColoradoCare and set them free.

Reason #56: Really tackle chronic illness

Between all the career and life changes a typical stint on Planet Earth brings, we really don’t spend all that much time with individual insurance companies. Maybe a few years, or if we’re bridging a gap between jobs, a few months, and then we move on.

But chronic illnesses like diabetes stay with us for the duration. If we don’t manage them properly, it gets expensive down the road, which is one reason health care experts won’t shut up about the benefits of preventative medicine.

The trouble with this picture is that we’re in a short-term relationship with insurance companies, but somehow count on them to think in the long term. It will not come as a huge shock that they don’t. They know it’s all a game of hot potato and that patients will eventually end up on Medicare. So for the most part, they do an abysmal job of keeping us healthy and keeping costs down. They care about good preventative care about as much as an airline cares how you get home from DIA.

With everybody on ColoradoCare, we’ll finally have an incentive and the infrastructure to do preventative care right. That way, we keep people healthy and working, and keep costs down. Vote for Amendment 69, and we can stop this costly game of hot potato.

Reason #55: Seasonal workers win

At the top of the list of people least likely to have health insurance are seasonal workers. Like the bartender at the ski lodge you frequent, or the traveling jewelry maker you bought the earrings from at the community festival.

These people work hard, pay taxes, help you enjoy your vacation, help you look good, and yet have a very difficult time getting health insurance. Their options are complex, expensive, and constantly changing. Many go without insurance, so if they get in a fix one day and fling themselves at the emergency room, you get to pay for it.

With ColoradoCare, we simplify the system so that they’re always insured. Instead of the booby-trapped maze of expensive options that they may opt out of, they’ll pay a percentage of their income toward their insurance. Vote for Amendment 69, and we’ll insure that everyone contributes, and everyone is covered.

Reason #54: End donation jars

Ever see one of those donation jars with somebody’s picture accompanied by a short tale of medical-bill hell? You feel for the patient, of course, but it’s also annoying. Surely, you think, there’s got to be a better way to pay for health care.

There is. It’s called health insurance. But in this era of $12,000 family deductibles, that will help only so much. Clearly, there are a few school-bus-sized bugs in that system.

ColoradoCare, however, can fix this. Everyone contributes, and everyone is covered. Really covered. No $12,000 deductibles. Vote for Amendment 69, and with any luck we’ll see fewer of those obnoxious donation jars.

Reason #53: Better billing

We take it for granted that medical bills are written in a language that – while it in some ways loosely resembles English – is clearly not native to the United States, or, for that matter, Planet Earth. A few years back, we even had a semi-famous example of an author named Stephen Brill asking the CEO of United Healthcare to translate a bill written by the company he runs. The CEO couldn’t do it.

This is, to put it mildly, not necessary. Medical bills could and should be as comprehensible as the statements you get at the end of a meal at a restaurant.

Under ColoradoCare, your fellow Coloradans will be administering a health plan for all state residents, and they’ll have every incentive to streamline billing into plain English. They’ll also have every incentive to work out arrangements with providers to take care of larger groups of people for a flat fee. That means it wouldn’t be necessary to document and bill for every single aspirin and packet of gauze, for the same reason the restaurant doesn’t bill you for napkins and packets of jam.

A vote for Amendment 69 is a vote for streamlined billing, big savings, and plain English.

Reason #52: Save the children

Feel like getting a little angry? Then know this: There are children in Colorado who don’t have health insurance, and thus easy access to health care, because their parents didn’t fill out the right forms to make it happen.

Are the parents in this scenario irresponsible knuckleheads? Sure they are. And now that we have that catharsis out of the way, what are we going to do about it? (And by the way, perhaps those wayward parents have some challenge or reason for said irresponsibility that we don’t understand. Thus, that annoying advice not to judge until we’ve walked a mile in someone’s shoes.)

Either way, having a bunch of uninsured kids in Colorado is a total loser for everybody. Untreated medical problems will disrupt their education and their emotional development, which hurts tomorrow’s workforce and lowers productivity. We’ve all known people with childhood issues who didn’t play well with others, and boy did it stink.

Vote for Amendment 69, and we can save the children (and save ourselves headaches too.)

Reason #51: Rural areas win

 


Finding a doctor in rural areas is tough, and finding a specialist is even tougher. But check this out: Our system actually makes it worse.

Narrow insurance company networks mean even less choice, especially in rural Colorado. Less choice means less competition and higher costs. And high poverty rates in rural areas means doctors take a financial hit with more Medicaid and uninsured patients.

So people in rural areas are stuck with the worst of all worlds: Few doctors, even fewer choices, the greatest expense, and the Medicaid/uninsured population keeping doctor’s salaries low and discouraging them from practicing at all.

ColoradoCare eliminates narrow networks and turns every Colorado resident into a paying customer. Vote for Amendment 69, and it won’t just be easier to find a doctor. It’ll be easier to be a doctor.

Reasons #69-61

Reason #69: Less paperwork

Filling out the entry paperwork at a new doctor’s office is a ritual as common as the very old and very bad magazines in the waiting room. But it’s a pain, especially when you’re sick.

Your ColoradoCare card will contain a memory chip including all those pertinent details, and that means less paperwork for you. You present your card, they scan it, and you can go sit down secure in the knowledge that they already have your emergency contact number and know if you’re allergic to some medication. More efficiency, less paperwork, and you don’t have to write so much on those well-worn clipboards. Vote for Amendment 69 and make it real.

Reason #68: Relax and get care

Ever have one of those days where everyone you meet seems to be ticked off and stressed out? Maybe it’s just Monday, or maybe it’s the weather, but health care-induced money worries are never far below the surface.

With deductibles rising every year, even the insured have to worry about getting sick. Will there be any money left after the hospital bills come due? Will a freak car accident lead to bankruptcy? Is the house at risk?

Imagine a Colorado where nobody has to think these terrible thoughts. You’d probably still have those days where everyone seemed a little on edge, but we’re betting it would happen less often. Vote yes on Amendment 69, breathe deeply, and relax.

Reason #67: A medical emergency won’t give you a heart attack

If you’re a parent, you’ve been there: It’s late and all the doctor’s offices have closed, and you’re wondering if your sick kid should go to the emergency room now, or if you should put them to bed and see what it looks like in the morning.

There are a lot of factors to consider in this situation (preferably with the assistance of a nurse helpline), but one thing you shouldn’t have to think about is the cost. Health should come first. But in this era of $12,000 family deductibles and ER visits averaging more than $1,000, you can’t help it.

Vote for Amendment 69 in November, and you can focus on more important things.

Reason #66: Let’s business get back to business

There are thousands of businesses across Colorado, and we depend on them for jobs, products, services, and innovation. So why do we make them divert their attention from all that important work to administer small health plans?

This system is a historical accident, but we don’t need to get into the long and sordid story of internal IRS meetings from decades ago that made it this way. We do, however, need to change it.

Larger businesses shouldn’t have to worry about running tiny health insurance companies. Small business shouldn’t have to worry about losing a game they often don’t have the financial clout to play in the first place. Let’s vote for Amendment 69, and let business get back to business.

Reason #65: Health care: It’s not just for criminals!

This doesn’t happen too often, but people who have trouble paying for or accessing health care sometimes commit crimes so they can go to jail and get seen for free. Fox 31 even did an investigation of the trend a couple years back. Also, sometimes people get great mental health care while incarcerated, only to lose it when they rejoin our communities. Now how does that help any of us?

In the interest of keeping this a G-rated post, let’s just say this reaches a level of crazy commonly associated with bat excrement.

Guards in jails have enough on their plate without babysitting people who just need some health care. Let’s vote for Amendment 69 and clean up this insane corner of our criminal justice system.

Reason #64: Life is short

Time is money, and by that standard, we’re paying way too much for health insurance. It’s needlessly complex, and figuring it all out is a heavy tax on your time. What does your plan cover? What does it not cover? Who can you see for treatment and what non-members of your insurance company’s provider cult should you avoid? And how would you like to pay for that all? Answering every one of these questions can involve hours of reading, research, and listening to peppy hold music.
Life is too short for this. Let’s just make the system simpler, like Medicare, and you can choose how you spend more of your time. Vote for Amendment 69, and enjoy the big cut in the time tax.

Reason #63: Real preventative care

Lots of people don’t do much to promote their own health, and it can cause all sorts of medical problems in the short and long term. Big deal, you think: That’s their problem.

Yes and no. They will certainly do their share of suffering, but the rest of us will be paying the consequences right along with them. It’s a series of little taxes that we don’t think about much.

You pay every time you have to cover for a sick colleague. You pay when others have less money to spend in our consumer-driven economy. And because healthy and sick people are in the same insurance pools, you indirectly pay for their medical care.

ColoradoCare won’t turn everyone into 14er-climbing vegan exercise freaks, but ensuring that all residents will occasionally interact with health professionals that can point them in the right direction. Small conversations about weight loss, quitting smoking, and vaccines are cheap and can reap big savings down the road.
Vote for Amendment 69, improve our health, and make sure that—at the end of the day—everyone’s at their best, giving their best to our state.

Reason #62: Have we mentioned Medicare?

Here’s a mantra for the next couple of months: Medicare, Medicare, Medicare.

It’s an insurance plan financed with a payroll deduction, just like ColoradoCare, and it works pretty well. It is, in fact, the most popular insurance plan in the United States, even the with people who spend all their free time trying to make sure nobody else can access anything like it.

So no matter what brand of hyperbolic slander is heaped upon ColoradoCare by industry-backed opponents, just remember that people like them said things like that about Medicare, too. They were wrong then. Let’s vote for Amendment 69, and prove them wrong now.

Reason #61: Doctors can be doctors

So you finally finish your many years of school and training and are all set to help sick and injured patients, but there’s a catch: You have to spend a lot of your time doing insurance paperwork. You need to have relationships with as many companies as possible in order to have as many patients as possible, but every company has its own hoops to jump through. You may have to hire some people to figure it all out.

It’s weird to have to spell this out, but we want doctors to spend their time practicing medicine, not being distracted by insurance paperwork. Vote for Amendment 69, and we can go a long way to streamline this process and free them up to get back to their jobs keeping us healthy.

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