Letter: Insurance companies and hospitals are scared

The Colorado Legislature’s public option bill has not yet even been introduced, and insurance companies and hospitals are running scared. Last Monday, a $1 million ad campaign began to demonize a plan that would help insure Colorado citizens at reasonable pricing. According to the Colorado Sun, Partnership for America’s Health Care Future is a “deep pocketed” organization created to fight a public health insurance option. This group’s members include Colorado hospitals and insurance companies.

Be assured that insurance companies and hospitals are protecting their huge bottom lines. In 2018, Colorado hospitals reported a 15.6% profit margin for the highest profits in the nation — UCHealth is at more than 20%. Its numbers have not changed significantly through the pandemic. Though nonprofit hospitals do not call it “profit,” they are still taking in more revenue than their costs and keep it within their system instead of using it to lower prices for patients.

The concentration of Colorado hospitals into a few powerful groups cuts into the negotiating power of the state’s relatively smaller insurance companies to hold down prices. Hospitals also have bought up physician groups and brought them in-house, with some states seeing more than half their doctors employed directly by hospital companies.

Aggregating state negotiating power into a public option will help increase competition and stabilize health insurance premium costs. The new bill is a two-phase approach that will allow the free market to voluntarily lower health insurance costs on the individual market over the next two years.

If they can do it, we will all benefit from lower cost insurance plans available in every county. If they are unable to achieve meaningful savings on their own, then as early as 2025, the state of Colorado will offer the Colorado Option that will be available in every county that will be full insurance coverage at a lower price for those who choose to buy it.

So, when you see the anti-public option ads on your television screen, just know that these people are not for you. Their job is to spread misinformation and use scare tactics because they are scared of losing their obscene profits. They will work hard to distract us from something that will benefit us all.

Zach Milavitz

Steamboat Springs

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