Implications for Rural Colorado

Chad Vorthmann, Executive Vice President, Colorado Farm Bureau:

“Health care is critically important to the more than 700,000 Coloradans who live in rural and agricultural communities. We need solutions that expand access to care and make coverage more affordable. Sadly, as proposed, the state-government option may have the opposite effect — hospital closures, service cuts and fewer insurance choices. We encourage Colorado lawmakers to put the proposal on hold until it can be fully analyzed and focus instead on solutions that get to the root of our health care problems.”

Don Shawcroft, President, Colorado Farm Bureau:

“A state government option would only further exacerbate the physician shortage plaguing rural communities and health care facilities statewide. Policy makers should be focusing on ways to help rural communities attract and retain new medical talent, not drive any possibility of doing so into the ground. Worsening our already notable doctor shortage only serves to reduce options for patients and undermine efforts to provide high-quality primary, preventative and emergency care for rural communities.”

Michelle Mills, CEO, Colorado Rural Health Center:

“Colorado has avoided the rural hospital closures that plagued other states. Nonetheless, 22 rural hospitals operated in the red last year… That’s double the number in 2018.”

Don Shawcroft, President, Colorado Farm Bureau:

“Given that nearly one-third of our state’s rural hospitals are already operating at a loss as is, slashing revenue could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for many of these facilities.”

Maggie Elehwany, Vice President of Government Affairs and Policy, National Rural Health Association:

“When you’ve got a small rural hospital and it closes, it’s a nail in the coffin of that rural community. How are you going to attract a business? How are you going to keep your school if you don’t have physicians? In rural America, health care is really part of the whole infrastructure of the community.”

Jenifer Waller, Senior Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, Colorado Bankers Association:

“Rural Colorado already struggles to attract medical care and new businesses. If you don’t have access to health care, you make the challenge of attracting new business much harder, especially if you may only have one hospital or one doctor on a rotating basis for several communities. I think the state’s plan would put things in jeopardy or make it harder for rural Colorado to attract new employees and businesses.”

Chris Brown, Director of Policy and Research, Common Sense Policy Roundtable:

“It’s hard to see how paying less, giving insurers less incentive to retain and compete, is going to in some way improve the access or quality of services and doctors and physicians in rural Colorado.”

Don Shawcroft, President, Colorado Farm Bureau:

“In rural communities, where health care facilities are already running on limited resources and razor-thin margins, these revenue cuts would have a disproportionately negative impact, threatening their ability to provide high-quality care for rural patients, many of whom already struggle to afford even minimal care.”