Monday, May 7, 2007

Colorado Public Radio Wants to Hear Your Opinion on Health Care Reform

While listening to NPR/Colorado Public Radio recently, I heard their solicitation for public stories on health insurance issues from listeners. Basically, they're asking for average citizens to send them stories of their experiences and opinions on health care coverage in Colorado (both good and bad), as part of their "Public Insight" initiative. Presumably, this will be incorporated into their intermittent special series on health care reform in Colorado.

For instance, something like Ari Armstrong's recent excellent blog post on the virtues of HSA's (Health Savings Accounts) and how they are good for him and his wife would be a perfect item to submit:


If you have anything you'd like to submit, the relevant Colorado Public Radio webpage is:

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Some of the other stories in their series are available at:

Although their stories appear slanted in favor of universal coverage, I'm hoping that they would be willing to air an alternative perspective in favor of Health Savings Accounts, free markets, and individual rights.

FYI, here is my submission to their webpage. In addition to the standard demographic information, I told them that I had adequate insurance and no insurance horror stories. In response to their last two questions, I gave the following answers:

[CPR: "Do you have experience or expertise that gives you deeper insight into this issue? If so, tell us more."]

I am a physician practicing in the south Denver metro area. I am alarmed by the moves towards a misguided system of "mandatory universal health coverage". I believe this will harm both patients and doctors in Colorado. Hence, as a physician, I am opposed to this dangerous trend. I've written an Open Letter to Colorado Physicians on this subject which is available online at:


A shorter version was recently published as a Letter to the Editor in the March/April 2007 "Colorado Medicine", which is the bimonthly journal of the Colorado Medical Society. I've been told that it has aroused some lively debate amongst physicians, which was one of my goals.

[CPR: "What else about this issue deserves more attention and investigation?"]

I would like to draw attention to the fact that whenever government-mandated "universal coverage" has been implemented in other US states, it has resulted in worse patient care and rising costs - the exact opposite of the intended effects.

In Tennessee, their universal coverage scheme has been a medical and fiscal disaster. Maine is thinking of scaling back their benefits because their system is unsustainable. In Massachusetts, rising costs have forced the state government has had to choose between reducing the numbers of people they will cover (i.e., making it less "universal"), raising taxes, or cutting back benefits - they've chosen to violate the "universal" element to avoid a political backlash. The government-run approach to coverage inevitably leads to rising costs, rationing, or both. Hence, I do not want to see Colorado repeat the mistakes of other states.

Instead, a market-based reform, such as Dr. Brian Schwartz's FAIR proposal ("Free-Markets, Affordability & Individual Rights") would be much better for Colorado. His proposal is available on the 208 Commission website at:

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