Thursday, June 7, 2007

Gina Liggett e-Letter to Denver Post on 208 Commission

On June 6, 2007, the Denver Post published the following e-Letter by Gina Liggett, RN, MPH:

Free market health care reform?

The four initial proposals selected by the 208 Commission on Health Care Reform recommend greatly increased governmental control of health care in Colorado. Few people would argue against the Commission's sound "Guiding Principles" for improving the health status of Coloradoans (e.g., the plan must provide high quality care, be financially viable and emphasize prevention). But the biggest surprise is that the Commission's eleven Evaluation Criteria required that the proposals offer only specified government-oriented methods for reforming health care. Free-market proposals couldn't possibly have had a chance.

For example, the only way a proposal received a "high" score on the criterion of "Access" was to "Increase Medicaid Provider Participation AND Serve Geographically Underserved Areas." On the criterion of "Coverage," a high-scoring proposal must "Require purchase of coverage AND Subsidize coverage AND Ensure availability of coverage" OR "..provide direct coverage to all..through a single-payer system." These mandates built into the Evaluation Criteria and thereby into the selected proposals dictate the who, what, when, where and how. This disqualified any free-market-oriented solutions.

I only wonder why the Commission bothered to solicit various proposals in the first place. They had already designed their first choice, and it's called "Socialized Medicine for Colorado."

Gina M. Liggett, Denver