Coloradans Consider Competition and Access to Care

Dirk Draper, President and CEO, Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC:

“The state-government option is likely to make [delivering high-quality care] that harder by pushing insurers out of the state and creating more one-size-fits-all health coverage options,” he said. “And it may increase private health care costs, which can make the difference between hiring a new employee, investing in capital or growing a business.”

Simon Lomax, Fellow, Common Sense Policy Roundtable:

“No matter where you stand on the public option, can it really be called a public-private partnership when private health plans are being threatened with elimination if they don’t go along? Of course not. That’s coercion, not collaboration.”

Brad Niederman, Legislative Council Member, National Association of Health Underwriters:

“The [report] keeps referencing increased competition. The reality is, I’ve already heard from one carrier in the individual market that if this actually comes to fruition and they’re forced to do this they are going to pull out of the state. Right there, we don’t have increased competition because we lost a carrier… The unintended consequences need to be at the forefront of the discussion.”

Joshua Ewing, Associate Vice President, Legislative Affairs, Colorado Hospital Association:

“The [public option] doesn’t really do anything to expand coverage to Coloradans… Our first priority should be getting coverage for those folks who still lack health insurance today. But that’s not what the state option is doing. It’s really an effort to exert more control for state government over how the health care system operates.

Ray Scott, State Senator, Colorado:

“The public option is likely to create less access to quality care; put an unsustainable strain on health care providers; and, ultimately, push many into one-size-fits-all plans that ignore their unique needs.”

Jimmy Sengenberger, President, Millennial Policy Center:

“A public option would crowd out the private insurance market and push away private health care providers who are already struggling with low Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement rates.”

Leanna Gassaway, Senior Vice President of State Affairs and Policy, America’s Health Insurance Plans:

“[The State Option] is likely to create a textbook example of an unlevel playing field, with state option plans having the advantage of government-controlled rates, and the nonstate-option plans bearing ever higher costs shifted by providers away from such plans.”

Sally Pipes, President and CEO, Pacific Research Institute:

“If implemented, [the State Option] would destroy Colorado’s private insurance market and severely restrict state residents’ ability to access care.”

Jeff Keener, CEO, South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce:

“The Colorado Public Option final report sent to lawmakers raises serious alarms. Like earlier drafts, the proposal ignores economic impacts on consumers and businesses. It provides no definitive insight to how provider rates will be determined, which will have an immense bearing on access to care, quality of care and competition.”

Amanda Massey, Executive Director, Colorado Association of Health Plans:

“Colorado health plans also hold significant concerns that if such mandates are adopted, they will fail to establish meaningful or sustainable competition on Colorado’s individual market, while also subjecting our state’s broader health care marketplace to the risk of massive disruption and unintended consequences.”

Margot Sanger-Katz, Health Care Correspondent, The New York Times:

“[A] competitive public option could have a similar effect: … Private insurance could disappear from some places, or exist largely to fill certain niches, like high-deductible plans… And it would almost guarantee that doctors and hospitals would be paid less for their work.”

Amanda Massey, Executive Director, Colorado Association of Health Plans:

“[We] hold significant concerns that this new State Government Option will result in a one-sized-fits-all approach replacing market choice and competition.”

Lee Boyles, CEO, St. Anthony Summit Medical Center:

“I think the reality of the plan, as it’s proposed, it’s just not sustainable. And I think there are a lot of unintended consequences. I think for one, it really jeopardizes a lot of access. And it really doesn’t, when you look at the most vulnerable populations that we try to take care of – it doesn’t adequately address the uninsured, and there’s no guarantee that it’s going to reduce premiums for low-income consumers purchasing coverage. And the final thing, too, is the proposed savings are coming almost entirely from us as hospitals. There’s always work that we can do to find better coverage and better options for Colorado people. But at the same time that doesn’t have to come solely on the backs of hospitals. There are sustainable long-term solutions for Colorado, but I don’t feel the public option is one of them.”