ColoradoCare truths vs. falsehoods

To the editor,

Special thanks for Veronica Lasater’s recent letter itc ” which was compiled from the insurance industry’s talking-point falsehoods on TV ads, the “Coloradans for Coloradans” website (99 percent industry-funded), and heavily financed politicians. The insurance industry is waging a war of fearmongering to stop us from taking control of our health care. You’ll hear many arguments carefully crafted to wave us away from this notion of democracy in action, which would deprive them of huge profits. Among these arguments are the same old divisive ones: that we’ll be over- run by incoming freeloaders; that the economy will collapse when everyone quits their job to spend all day at a clinic; that some deserve more than others.

- Lasater says, “We can’t know what the benefits will be because the ‘board’... will decide later.”

Section 6 (1) (a) of the amendment states that ColoradoCare shall establish “Ambulatory patient services, including primary and specialty care; Hospitalization; Prescription drugs and durable medical equipment; Men- tal health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment; Emergency and urgent care; Preventive, wellness services and chronic disease management; Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices; Pediatric services, including oral, vision and hearing care; Laboratory services; Maternity and newborn care; Palliative and end-of-life care.”

- Lasater says “anyone can ... get health care at Colorado taxpayers’ expense!” Section 2 (11) specifies the one continuous-year residency requirement for us “members.” If folks did come here, they’d need housing, food, and living expenses, so they’d get jobs and pay into the system a full year before they ever got benefits. Can’t eat future health care!

- Funding? ColoradoCare will raise $25 billion in pay- roll taxes ... replacing the $30 billion we pay now in premiums, deductibles and profits to distant investors. Oh, add industry rates skyrocketing in 2017 by 28 percent.

- ColoradoCare taxes are $4.5 billion less, and every- one gets comprehensive health care, with ZERO deductible. Better for less. Payroll taxing means the less you make, the less you pay. Smart and ethical.

- The State of Colorado’s own fiscal impact statement on ColoradoCare confirms ColoradoCare’s financial pro- jections, adding that after costing $60 million to start, ColoradoCare fully implemented will save Colorado state government $147.3 million per year!

- Section 5, (1) (a) states “A member-elected board of 21 trustees shall govern ColoradoCare.” Lasater prefers the current dictatorship of out-of-state corporate control, being understandably loyal to her income source. I’d far rather have ColoradoCare – democracy – and control my own health care.

She calls the Board “a group of 21 people with no re- quired qualifications.” How does she arrive at this, and what is her idea of qualification? Perhaps Lasater prefers entrepreneurs such as Stephen Hemsley, CEO of United- Health, who made $66 million in 2014 – $180,000 per day. Those qualifications reflect to me only one allegiance: the mission of harvesting maximum profit from us, the customer.

I think the people of Colorado would do better to elect doctors, nurses, therapists and other providers; hospital administrators; economists; cyber, fraud and other security experts; public health experts; and IT folks; than the “experts” that control our health care now. Of course, the ColoradoCare Board’s job will be much more difficult than that of any insurance company: namely, to actually ensure universal, efficient and comprehensive health care to a large group of people.

- Lasater says “if it ends up costing the state more, this board can vote to increase taxes.” Section 9 (8) speci- fies that increases in tax can happen “only if a majority of the members of ColoradoCare who cast votes on the proposed increase approve it.”

- Lasater’s “the tax will stay” if ColoradoCare fails – again, industry falsehood. Read Section 16.

Lasater’s sarcastic comparison to Veteran’s Administration health care fails. Unlike the VA, ColoradoCare does not provide health care, only funding for ANY provider you choose. ColoradoCare is based on popular Medicare, serving millions efficiently for 50 years. Compare admin- istration costs: Medicare – 3 percent; industry’s rat-tunnel maze – 20-30 percent. Compare purpose: Medicare, Col- oradoCare – provision of health care; private industry – harvesting profit.

- Ref “doctors WILL leave Colorado...”, Section 5 (4) (g) establishes procedures to ensure financial sustainability by adjusting payments and benefits. Savings come from healthcare’s 30 percent fat – profits, lousy administration, drug price-gouging, etc. – not from the 8 percent meat of practitioner income.

Jobs? You better believe $4.5 billion back in our pockets to spend will benefit businesses!

I urge Lasater to admit her personal financial stake – she holds a Colorado Health Insurance Producer License.

– Karen Pontius, Durango