There is no shortage of opinions about the impact of Federal health care reform.
For those of us who own or manage businesses, opinions are terrific material for water cooler speculation, but the real challenge we must face is to understand the practical impact of health care reform on our businesses, the people we employ and, lest we forget, their families.
While that debate rages, members of the Colorado General Assembly have been quietly but diligently working on a meaningful, substantive alternative to Federal health care reform. Senate Bill 200, The Colorado Health Benefit Exchange Act, sponsored by Republican House Majority Leader and State Rep. Amy Stephens and Democrat Senate President Pro Tempore, Sen. Betty Boyd, offers a measured, bipartisan approach to healthcare in Colorado. The bill accomplishes several things:
It establishes a board with limited authority to investigate potential implementation of a health benefit connector for Colorado
It expressly prohibits the board from creating rules (mandates), regulating insurance, soliciting bids, price fixing, purchasing insurance, or using of state funds
It establishes an oversight board with strictly defined duties with express authority over the exchange board (applications for federal dollars must be approved by this board)
It establishes a five-year review process allowing for a repeal if the model fails to meet strict guidelines established in the bill
It expressly requires an open and public process — open meetings, open records — and strict accountability
The bill limits government in directing healthcare, is market driven, adds no mandates on businesses or consumers, and gives consumers greater choice to exercise their individual authority. And, as a practical matter, Senate Bill 200 is the only thing that stands between Colorado, our businesses large and small, and the people who work for those business, and Federal health care reform. It’s a Colorado Solution to Colorado health care challenges.
Any number of prominent Colorado business-friendly stakeholder groups are supporting Senate Bill 200, including the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, and our very own Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. These pro-business groups recognize the wisdom of a Colorado solution that is tailored to the needs of Colorado businesses and citizens. They also understand that Senate Bill 200 offers a free-market solution that encourages competition and keeps decisions in the hands of consumers, not the government.
Please join us in urging support for Senate Bill 200 from every member of El Paso County’s State legislative delegation. Take action now. Call your State Representative and State Senator. Tell them that Senate Bill 200, the Colorado Health Benefit Exchange Act, is the right thing for Colorado.
Wynne Palermo is the founder of Wynne Realty, and Jerry Biggs is founder of BiggsKofford Certified Public Accountants.