ICYMI: ‘Public Option Not The Pragmatic Answer To Our Health Insurance Challenges’

Apr 6, 2021

DENVER – As some lawmakers continue to push for creating a new government-controlled health insurance system in Colorado known as the state government option, Chris Romer, president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership, writes in the Vail Daily“the public option mandate is not the pragmatic solution we need to address this problem.”

Romer argues the current programs and initiatives already in place are lowering costs and increasing access to quality care and coverage, stating, “Colorado is on the right track pursuing market-based innovation and public-private partnership solutions to address this issue.”

He continues, “The uninsured rate in Eagle County has declined from 22.4% in 2013 to 12.5% in 2018…Coloradans in the individual market have experienced meaningful reductions in insurance premiums, expanded product choice, and increased competition in the private market in recent years.”

Romer points to recent data suggesting Colorado is already outperforming other states on cost-cutting measures without a public option, writing, “Colorado has seen larger reductions on a percentage basis in the Affordable Care Act’s average benchmark health insurance premiums than Washington, the first state to establish a public option two years ago. Since 2018, Colorado’s benchmark premiums have fallen by 25.3%, compared to 15.5% increase in Washington State.”

Romer acknowledges there is a need to focus on health care and health insurance costs, but disagrees with the approach, noting “this legislation includes a provision that requires health care providers to accept all patients enrolled in health plans offered by the state authority at the reimbursement rates set by the authority.”

Additionally, Romer notes, “Failure to participate in the government-run plan is punishable by disciplinary action against the health care provider, including loss of license. This isn’t a public option, it is a public mandate.”

Romer concludes, “Imagine the government stepping in to set prices for your business and then to remove your license to operate if you don’t cooperate. We would not accept this in any other industry and we should not accept it here.” He adds, We are committed to solving the problem through market driven, public-private partnerships. The public option, as currently written, does not meet this criteria.”

To read Chris Romer’s opinion piece in the Vail DailyCLICK HERE.