Letter: UCHealth is spreading misinformation about public option | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: UCHealth is spreading misinformation about public option

Recently, UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center sent an email to their medical staff regarding the Colorado public option that was filled with misinformation.

The email said the following (real facts provided below each point):

Misinformation: The public option “could result in the loss of thousands of health care jobs in our state.”

Fact: That assertion is based on an anti-government, corporate-funded group using fictitious data about the public option program. Hospitals in Colorado are some of the most expensive in this country. The program will take a small slice out of less than 2% of their total revenues. The only thing that will be lost here is a small fraction of the 40% profits hospitals are making, much of which goes to executive salaries. If hospitals decide to lay off workers instead of streamlining their bloated overhead and the executives’ salaries, that is repugnant.

Misinformation: The public option “could shift costs and increase insurance premiums for many with commercial insurance.”

Fact: Evidence of cost shifting is based on biased self reports conducted by the industry. A recent state government report found that Colorado hospitals increase prices for employers regardless of other factors, including when the hospital’s compensation increases from other programs. The public option will cut costs for all Coloradans. Employers can use the new public pricing model to negotiate better deals with hospitals. Hospitals in Colorado have average operating profits of 40%. Unfortunately, they have consistently deceived the public to protect their ability to overcharge Coloradans by billions of dollars every year.

Misinformation: The public option “could also make it more difficult for hospitals to recruit excellent providers and staff to come work in Colorado.”

Fact:: There is no basis for this claim.

UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center needs to better serve the residents of Northwest Colorado by ensuring their statements are accurate. Colorado’s hospitals have the highest profit margins in the country. The public option will still reimburse our hospitals at a level that maintains profitability and will be fair and sustainable for consumers.

The Colorado option puts Coloradans first, gives us a real choice of health insurance coverage and addresses the root causes of rising health care costs. Hospitals, doctors and carriers need to be our partners and part of the solution, especially the people with UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center.

Lia Kozatch

Steamboat Springs

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