I'm even seeing this when I basically agree with the criticism. Today it's a good health care story about a 53-year-old guy with seizure disorder who can't get insurance. Me, basically, except I've managed to keep my coverage.
Cover Colorado said they'd insure the guy for $500 a month. Only $100 more than I pay. The one private insurer who agree to take him on had a plan that cost $650. Pretty standard, if you're talking about decent coverage for someone with pre-existing conditions. And how many of us reach 50 without a few?
Katy Human, their health care reporter, writes:
While some Coloradans can't afford health insurance and others have inadequate coverage, Sullivan falls into another problem group — people who are generally healthy and middle-class but can't easily get insurance because of pre-existing medical conditions.She didn't mention the fact that Health Care for All Colorado's plan would save the state $1.4 billion annually, and that people like this guy with the seizure disorder would be covered -- but again: Pretty standard fare.
Colorado lawmakers, who promised last year to make health reform a priority this session, are rapidly backing off health-reform ideas after realizing it would cost roughly $1 billion to get insurance to the state's 790,000 people without it.
Then comes this quote that provides the pullquote and jump tag that the paper uses. It's from the guy's wife:
"When a government cannot respond to the needs of the people, then there is a real problem," Patty Sullivan said Tuesday. "Gov. Ritter is not our friend on this."
What? It's a great quote, and I agree with the basic premise -- politicians are not providing the leadership that they could on this. Ritter himself told me in front of a crowd that the time isn't right, that the pols need us to do more educating. Standard fare, fair enough. Probably even right by many measures.
So on the one hand, I agree that the governor, as the highest elected official in the state has a special responsibility to lead. On the other hand, the Post really viciously attacked Ritter for his support of unions. So I wonder.
Ritter has a press conference today on health care. He referenced cost-shifting the other night on a public television call-in show, a misleading diversion from real solutions. Reducing cost-shifting due to the uninsured has very little potential for saving money under health insurance mandate schemes. If Ritter goes in that direction it would be a great disappointment.
The last part of Human's article was great. It referenced the phased approach to single-payer that Rep. Claire Levy of Boulder hopes to introduce.
Sullivan said she's pinning hope on the few state lawmakers still interested in universal coverage, including Rep. Claire Levy, a Democrat representing parts of Clear Creek, Gilpin and Boulder counties.
Levy said she is looking to introduce a late bill to start building a universal health insurance system in the state by creating an agency to draw up a benefit package and calculate costs.
Eventually, a single-payer system would probably need voter approval.
Startup costs could be high, as much as $15 billion by one estimate, though a nonprofit insurance program would lead to savings for most Colorado families, businesses and health care providers, Levy said.
"I keep hearing people repeat as if it's a received truth that the voters won't pass it," Levy said. "But I hear the same people saying they support a single-payer system. And businesses — especially small businesses."