Friday, February 18, 2011

Universal Health Care in Colorado?

According to the 2/15/2011 Denver Daily News, Colorado Democrats are still pushing for "universal health care" in the state.

Here is an excerpt from, "Universal Health for Colorado?":
Sen. Irene Aguilar, D-Denver, a doctor, introduced Senate Bill 168 yesterday, arguing that a Colorado-specific health care cooperative is necessary to address the needs of 258,000 Coloradans who are uninsured and won’t have their needs met by the federally mandated health insurance exchange, currently being challenged in the courts.

...SB 168 would create a board of health care and policy experts to develop details for implementing a health care cooperative that would include all Coloradans as members.

The plan would be referred to Colorado voters in 2013.

The cooperative is being called "nongovernmental" because it would be governed by a member-elected board, though critics argue that the cooperative is governmental in nature.

The "universal" concept is already raising red flags. Critics object to residents being required to divert their private premium payments to public taxes in order to pay for the system.
(Read the full text of "Universal Health for Colorado?".)

If all CO residents are required by law to pay into this "cooperative", then it's hardly "nongovernmental"!

Conversely, if individuals wish to voluntarily join any form of "co-operative" or mutual assistance contract, they should be free to do so. In that case, the only obstacle is the government, in the form of state insurance laws which typically treat such cooperatives as "insurance companies" and thus subject to numerous state mandates. But if the government would get out of the way, individuals would be free to form any cooperatives they wished according to their best rational judgment.

But Senator Aguilar is not proposing a voluntary cooperative, but rather a mandatory system which is just another form of redistributing wealth.

Fortunately, her bill is unlikely to become law this session. But the underlying idea behind it is still very much alive, and therefore likely to proposed again and again in the future -- unless voters firmly reject the underlying mistaken notion that there is some "right" to health care.

Brian Schwartz has more analysis in his blog post, "The health care Authority will enforce your 'cooperation'".

(Denver Daily link via Ari Armstrong.)