In the News...
Our own health care plan
For nearly a century, Congress has repeatedly debated health care reform. At times, significant progress occurs, like the enactment of Medicare and the start of Medicaid. In the past year, Congress once again has taken up health care reform.
While we believe national insurance reform is needed, Colorado cannot afford to wait for Congress to act. The cost of inaction is simply too high for Colorado families, senior citizens and businesses.
Instead of waiting for Washington, Colorado is leading the way with our own reform agenda to contain costs, improve quality and make health care and insurance coverage more available to people in every corner of Colorado. We are using information technology to make health care more accessible and effective while reducing the number of duplicative tests.
We launched and are building the Center for Improving Value in Health Care, which is reforming health delivery systems to improve quality and drive down costs.
We enacted the Colorado Healthcare Affordability Act, the single biggest reform in 40 years, which will reduce cost-shifting, provide coverage to more than 100,000 Coloradans without costing taxpayers a penny, and create new incentives to promote high-quality hospital care.
And we are getting quality health care to tens of thousands of children through innovative outreach efforts and coordinated care delivered via "Medical Homes."
In 2010, we are proposing the next round of reforms that represent common sense, Colorado- based approaches to deliver better value for each health-care dollar.
The package includes legislation to preclude insurance companies from charging different rates due to a person's gender. We will ensure that women have access to breast cancer screening.
We will streamline costly and confusing health care paperwork by using plain language, standardizing insurance applications and explanation of benefits, and greater use of on-line tools to enroll people in public programs.
We will also increase access to health information so that consumers and businesses are able to compare quality and cost. And we will address shortages of doctors and nurses by increasing access to loan repayment programs for those providers willing to work in under- served, often rural, areas.
In addition to reforms through legislation, Colorado is leading the nation as the home to some of the most innovative and effective health care delivery. In Grand Junction, we find best practices that have become a model for the delivery of high-quality, cost-effective care that every family deserves.
In Fort Collins, Poudre Valley Health System received the nation's highest award for quality: the Baldridge Award.
In Denver, Kaiser Permanente was acknowledged as the best Medicare plan in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, and Denver Health and Hospitals has been recognized as one of the top 100 most wired hospitals for information technology and received the "Rising Star in Safety and Quality award" from University Healthsystem Consortium.
People throughout our nation — families, businesses, workers, doctors, nurses, hospitals and patients — are crying out for common sense answers to our health care crisis.
In Colorado, we hear those cries, and despite serious economic challenges, we are responding with significant progress improving quality, containing costs and expanding access.
We look forward to a successful legislative session enacting the next round of Colorado reforms, without waiting for Washington.