In the give and take that is our government, for every law that is passed, there are supporters and opponents. Some laws, such as Obamacare (PPACA) are so bad they need to be repealed. While some see SB-200 as "Obamacare for Colorado," I don't. But rather than continuing to debate the merits of this bill, I think our time would be better served to move forward. At the Tea Party Tax Day rally at the Capitol, there were calls by some speakers for repercussions against Republican legislators who supported SB-200. I hope this kind of talk dies down, as there are more important issues that our Freedom groups need to focus on right now, such as fighting any proposed tax increases or further erosion of TABOR. And those are just the state level issues. The debate over the budget and debt ceiling vote is a crisis for the whole country; one which will most likely be settled for better or for worse by Aug. 2. That is coming up soon!
For those interested in following up on SB-200, the Heritage Foundation has a position paper stating that, done right, health insurance exchanges can be beneficial. I propose that this forum be used to monitor the implementation of SB-200 to encourage that the exchange be set up in a beneficial manner. Failing that, use the Sunset Provision in the bill to rally for its demise. For those who scoff at the idea of the Sunset Provision being useful, just last session I was involved in a debate at the Capitol deciding whether to sunset a bill, so it is used. It's not easy and is time consuming, but that is the price we pay for living in a free country where everyone is entitled to free speech.
During discussions surrounding SB-200, I met some people who work as Health Insurance Brokers. Given that they are private businesses doing what SB-200 proposes to set up a government agency to perform, I wish they had spoken up as that is the best argument against SB-200 I heard. Evidently they did not want to sound self interested.* I asked them to monitor the process and keep us informed, and raise the alarm when needed. To start off this discussion, pasted at the end of this post is some information from a Facebook discussion on this topic.
I see SB-200 as just one of many small steps that need to be tried to bring healthcare costs under control. (Please note, I first became aware of "runaway" healthcare costs in the mid 1980s while in college. This is not a problem that came up overnight, so will not be solved quickly either.) I believe the states are the correct level to address this problem - the less Federal government involvement, the better. (Even if for no other reason, being a Federal, 2700 page long bill should be enough proof that PPACA is a bad bill.) While I hope some of you follow and report on the progress of SB-200, my interests lie in promoting other health care financing solutions so will start another forum on that. While it may not happen, I am hoping that getting a victory on SB-200 will encourage Democrats such as Betty Boyd to support Republican bills for health financing reform.
The Facebook post is addressing the first step in SB-200 - choosing the Board members. One area of contention and to be watched, is to try and get as many conservative appointees as possible. In the original bill it was to be a nine member Board, seven of which would be appointed by Democrats and two by Republicans. I thought that it got changed during the legislative process to five-four. We have to remember that the whole legislative process consists of people doing the "weasel side step" (from a theatrical version of "The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf," in which the lawyers for the Wolf continuously do the "weasel side step" to get him off)
*As an aside on what I see as desired health care financing reform, I would prefer that my husband's employer directly give him the healthcare money they currently spend so we could buy our own insurance. Given the amount of time I spend researching to buy something as simple as a car or cell phone, I would run, not walk, to a health insurance broker to help us decide on the best plan! To even out the playing field between employer provided insurance money and private individual insurance dollars, both need to be either taxable or tax deductible.
From Rich Brattan, http://www.facebook.com/notes/laurie-bratten/a-constitutional-inter...
... SB200, I would note that Governor Hickenlooper announced today his appointment of Democrat House Representative Jim Riesberg as Colorado's Commissioner of Insurance. This effectively gives the governor yet another appointment to the 12 member board set up by SB200.
As the Commissioner of Insurance, Riesberg will be a non-voting ex-officio member. The other two ex-offico members of the board will be Sue Birch, who was appointed by Governor Hickenlooper as the Executive Director of the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, and Dwayne Romero who was appointed by Governor Hickenlooper as the Executive Director of the Office of Economic Development and International Trade.
And on top of these three members of the board, Governor Hickenlooper will appoint 5 more voting members directly to the board. In addition, Senate Democrat Brandon Schaeffer will appoint 1 voting member to the board, and House Democrat Sal Pace (who lauded Hick's pick of Riesberg as Insurance Commissioner) will appoint 1 voting member to the board.
That effectively gives the Governor a total of 8 appointees, the Democratic Senate President 1 appointee, and the Democratic House Minority Leader 1 appointee. 10 out of 12 board members will have been appointed by Democrats. The remaining 2 of 12 will be appointed by Republicans.
SB200 appears to be a lose/lose situation for us, and probably a waste of time for any Republican appointees. Doesn't look like we stand a chance to influence this Commission. I lean towards Kathy's suggestion for placing our focus elsewhere.
In an aside, Kathy, my work schedule, including Saturdays, precludes my attendance at so many of the functions you suggest or request Arapahoe Tea Party to attend.
Ann, thanks for responding - that in itself is a valuable way for you to participate in the ATP.
Most of the events that are posted on our website are information only - to let people know what is going on. It would be nice if we could get short summaries of each event, so people could follow along electronically. Rather than a lot of time from a few people, my goal is a little time from a lot of people.
Thank goodness! for people like you who are busy working. And although I don't do so good at following my own advice at times, I encourage people to ensure they also spend time with family as families are the foundation of our society.