DENVER — Colorado physicians today applauded Gov. Jared Polis’ plan to expand health care for Coloradans and reduce their health care costs by passing an affordable Colorado Option.
“As a physician, I am hopeful that the Colorado Option will address the broken healthcare system we physicians witness all too often, and stop leaving Coloradans who can’t afford care behind,” said Dr. Lila Rosenthal, a Boulder family medicine physician. “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us how health care can make the difference between life and death. Uninsured Coloradans and those who’ve lost their jobs and their employer-provided healthcare are more vulnerable to sickness and poorer outcomes, for everything from COVID-19 to chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart illnesses. The push to rein in runaway healthcare costs is an important step toward protecting all Coloradans, regardless of their background and their wealth, during this pandemic and beyond.”
The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, and mass layoffs has left an estimated 500,000 Coloradans at risk of losing their employer-provided health insurance. This could potentially double the number of currently uninsured people in Colorado. Individuals who have health coverage are more likely to get the care they need when they need it. Americans currently spend more on health care than comparable countries, yet see poorer health outcomes and lower life expectancy.
“In my over 50 years career of medical practice, the major barrier preventing people from seeing a doctor regularly, and obtaining both the preventative care and treatment they need, is unequivocally, the high cost of healthcare.” said Dr. J. Joshua Kopelman, an Aurora obstetrician/gynecologist. “Affordable health care will provide patients and their families with the means to take control of their health without ruining them financially. Reducing individual health care costs will help Colorado families, who postpone or forgo needed office visits or procedures, simply because they are unaffordable. The Colorado Option can improve health equity, particularly for communities that have been priced out of our healthcare system for far too long. Especially during a pandemic, we must make sure all our neighbors have access to the care they need to thrive.”
One in six Colorado counties only have one insurance provider. Communities of color and LGBTQ Coloradans are more likely to lack health care. And 89 percent of uninsured Coloradans say healthcare costs are unaffordable and a barrier to care and treatment.
“As the COVID pandemic persists, uninsured patients are disproportionately impacted by the high costs of treatment that limits their access to medical care. Often, these are the same patients who are at highest risk for severe illness and death due to underlying comorbidities. Colorado has a crucial role to play in helping all of my patients gain access to appropriate health care,” said Dr. Vaughn Browne, an Emergency Physician at the University of Colorado Hospital. “Most patients only have access to one insurance provider and are at their mercy to approve diagnostic testing, specific treatments, medications, and rehabilitation services. Now and in the future, people need access to affordable insurance that works for them and keeps our communities healthier.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021
NOTE: The physicians above are speaking in their capacity as members of the Committee to Protect Medicare. They should be identified only as indicated in this news release.