From an email I received from Amy Mitchell - it had a lot of detail but this is only one excerpt.  Sorry, I don't have more time to spend on this..but it's enough of a "red flag" to me, to say NO.

 

Any state establishing an exchange is making a one-way, lose-lose bet. If health care reform persists, exchanges will become bloated administrative nightmares. If it is defeated, states will have wasted time and energy that should have been directed towards that effort. The health care take-over is the president's problem. Pennsylvania's leaders shouldn't make it theirs, too

John R. Graham. Director of Health Care Studies at the Pacific Research Institute.
http://buckslocalnews.com/articles/2011/03/21/opinion/doc4d835a9119...

Theresa's Comments: 

 

Utah has also experimented with this.  13 out of 136 remain in their health care exchange becasue most small business who thought it would be a good idea realized the exchange is more expensive than the free market place offers. 

 

Problem:

The healthcare in the US as a result of employer based benefits, has been the standard for a long time. This needs to change.

 

If people are responsible for paying for their own use, that's the way to go...not some insurance exchange opportunity where it is run by a "committee".  Committee is never a good thing. 

Theresa Collins

ATP member

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quote from the above link...((Although 20 businesses enrolled on its first day of operations in August 2009, only 13 remained enrolled by the end of 2009.)).  From sources that I have heard speak on the subject, there has been some adaptations made since 2009 to attract and new growth and provide a positive and stable competition in the state of Utah.

 

As for my opinion I'll take it over "Obama-care" as long as the state over-watch their own program and delete/fix it as needed.

 

Fredrick Lindner

Theresa, Thank you for starting this discussion. You make some good points. However, I have come to a different conclusion regarding SB 200. Below is an email stating my position that I sent to Sens. Mitchell, Boyd and Rep. Stephens. Like you, this is all the time I have to devote to this issue.

 

Esteemed legislators,

I would like to express my support for SB 200. I realize that Sen. Mitchell, as did all Senate Republicans, voted no. That may be a good thing, as the bill as currently written may need to be modified. However, overall I would like to not only support Sen. Boyd and Rep. Stephens on this bill, but thank them for all their hard work. I used to think I might want to run for the legislature, but seeing what you go through, I've changed my mind. No matter what you do, someone is mad.

As Chair of the Arapahoe Tea Party, I recently got involved in electronic discussions with other Freedom groups regarding this bill. The crisis surrounding the Federal budget has since superseded my time, so I've not spent much time on this bill, but this morning, I couldn't help but write the below pasted comment on the website of the Independence Institute, in response to an article opposing this bill. Due to the earlier voicing of my support for this bill, I was dis-invited to the meeting for leaders of various liberty groups that was held at the Capitol yesterday. This didn't bother me much, as there are so many other things that need attention now.

My comments so far on SB-200 are my personal opinion as I've not had a chance to get much feed back from our group - we have our next meeting Tues. April 5. Perhaps we can briefly discuss SB-200, but the main emphasis of the meeting has to be the Federal budget crisis, which I see as crucial right now. Not to sound too dramatic, but I believe it is "do or die" for our country on addressing issues that have for decades been ignored by politicians, such as reforming Social Security and Medicare. If these are not addressed, and the budget crisis worsens, how can we not go the way of Greece? (And there is no one big enough to bail us out!) I am firmly committed to doing everything I can to hand down to future generations, a country at least as good as I've had the privilege to live in. Enough on that soapbox. I hope to attend the public meeting to be held by Sens. Udall and Bennett on this issue next Friday.


Best regards,

Cathy Mitchell
Republican from Centennial (Rep. Balmer's district)


"I believe…..that every human mind finds pleasure in doing good to another."                       - Thomas Jefferson 

April 2 comment to Independence Institute:  http://liberty.i2i.org/2011/04/01/senate-bill-11-200-the-colorado-h...

Is dissent allowed by people who consider themselves staunch conservatives on this issue, or if I support Rep. Amy Stephens am I automatically labeled a RINO or Democratic plant? That seems to be the case so far. I’m rather leery of any group that is not open-minded or shuts down dissenting opinions.

There are some good points in opposition to this bill, but in my mind, more compelling reasons to support it. Primarily, it is not enough just to oppose Obamacare (I disagree that this bill is just Obamacare for Colorado, or a “solution in search of a problem”). There is a real health care cost problem in this country. It has been recognized for decades and is the reason HMOs, PPOs, PPS – DRGs etc have been tried. I believe that exchanges are something that should be tried in order to increase competition and market access The Heritage Foundation supports them, for that reason.

The Heritage Foundation, while opposing Obamacare type exchanges, supports them if done properly. Rather than just opposing this bill, wouldn’t it would be more useful to support Rep. Stephens in her efforts, and suggest modifications? According to Sen. Boyd, the Democrats have already given up much of what they wanted in the bill. While it would be nice if the Republicans had autocratic control and could govern exactly as they want, that’s not how it works.

To be transparent, I have never met nor have any affiliation with Rep Stephens, other than talking with her Aides at the Capitol and receiving a folder of information they compiled to try and better communicate the purpose of the bill. They acknowledged that, while working with the business community and Democrats on this bill, they may have not communicated well with the various freedom groups and want to fix that.

I may be seen as a liberal sympathizer because I like to talk to Democrats in an effort to improve understanding. Sen. Boyd gave me a few minutes of her time (as well as Sen. Mitchell) to discuss this bill. Having seen her in action over the years (and recently being involved with a group on another issue who is singing her praises for helping them oppose DORA), I think she has integrity. While I suspect she and I have the same goals – what is best for all people – we believe in polar opposite methods for achieving that goal. She sees redistribution of wealth and government as the solution; I see limited government, capitalism and individual responsibility as the solution. While I believe in limited government, no government (anarchy) is not the answer, so the best course is somewhere in between. I see the proper role of our two party system as the struggle, similar to a tug of war, between those two opposites. Compromise with Democrats is currently anathema to liberty groups, and for good reason, as the compromises of the past have led to our current problems. But that just means we need better compromise, not no compromise.


Opposition to this bill has pointed out that exchanges did not work well in Massachusetts or the first time in Utah, but states are the place to experiment. Let’s use their trials as a learning experience. Other opposition states that, rather than exchanges, we need different reform measures such as tort reform, permission to sell insurance across state lines, etc. I agree that other reform measures are needed in fact, lots of small reform measures need to be tried. One of the many reasons Obamacare is bad is the size and scope of the bill. One modification I would suggest to SB 200 is to review it in three years time versus five.

This comment is written rather hastily – there never seems to be enough time to do everything one wants to do, let alone as well as it needs to be done. If something I said was offensive, I apologize, it was not intentional, just coming from an imperfect person. What I would like is for my comments to spur further debate. There is so much more that needs to be said on this subject. As Joan Rivers would say, “Can we talk?”

A second life for health exchange bill?

House Majority Leader Amy Stephens says everybody needs to take a deep breath and realize that a bill she is sponsoring to set up health insurance exchanges is not dead.

“The bill is still alive,” Stephens, R-Monument, said. “I think everyone has to calm down.”

The bill was to be heard in Legislative Council on Wednesday, but has been bumped to next Tuesday as the House begins work on the state budget.

The legislation, Senate Bill 200, appeared to be mortally wounded last week after Stephens made clear her intent to offer an amendment that her Democratic co-sponsor in the Senate, Sen. Betty Boyd of Lakewood, called a “poison pill.”

 

The bill would allow individuals and small businesses to band together and negotiate in marketplaces for health care coverage the way large companies do. Reforms passed by Congress last year require states to set up the exchanges by 2014, or the federal government will step in and do it for them.

A broad and unlikely coalition of Colorado businesses, doctors, consumer groups and insurance brokers joined together to support the bill.

Stephens said she’d always supported health care exchanges regardless of “Obamacare” and initially resisted pressure from Tea Party activists to withdraw support. But the amendment Stephens unexpectedly offered last week would have said the exchanges could only take effect if Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, secured a waiver from the federal government opting the state out of the federal health care law, something Hickenlooper said he would not do.

Boyd called the amendment “a poison pill” and said Stephens’ offering it violated an agreement the two had to not offer any amendments they had not both already agreed to.

With the bill apparently dead after the very public amendment, Stephens now has been getting pressure from the state’s top business groups, who overwhelmingly support the exchange bill. A letter sent to Stephens today and signed by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, Colorado Competitive Council, Colorado Concern and the National Federation of Independent Business reiterated the strong support for the bill.

“We are united in our belief that this legislation, as introduced, embodies solid policy components reflecting the specific and unique needs of Colorado and ensures the Centennial State will control its destiny regarding the implementation of federal health reform,” the letter said.

Stephens said she’s also gotten plenty of emails from constituents who support the legislation. She also sounded weary of trying to explain the issue to some Tea Party activists.

“You’ll never satisfy some of them because there’s always some new conspiracy,” Stephens said. “I’m elected to be a leader and find solutions.”

Legislative Council has a 9-9 even partisan split, and so any controversial amendment could sink a bill outright.

But Boyd said she and Stephens had come to a new understanding.

“Amy and I both agreed we’re going to try to get it out of Legislative Council without any amendments,” Boyd said.

The bill would go to the House Appropriations Committee after that, and then, if the panel approves it, to the full House.

I would like to speak in support of SB-200.  A few months ago, I joined two groups – the Southeast Metro Business Association (SEMBA) Healthcare Reform Task Force, and the Arapahoe Tea Party. Little did I know at the time those two groups would end up on opposite ends of the SB-200 debate.

My first reaction to the Task Force group was, “it is so nice to finally have a common sense discussion on health care reform” as opposed to the nonsense that had passed for debate on Obamacare. Briefly, I am adamantly opposed to Obamacare – the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) as it will be neither affordable nor protect patients. Also, the Federal government has no constitutional authority to be involved in healthcare in the first place. The power and money for citizens to voluntarily provide health care to others needs to be devolved back to the states. Health care is not a right. A right is something that can’t be taken away from you, not something someone is required to give you.  My reaction to the Tea Party meetings and events was similar – “it is so nice to finally have common sense discussions on the proper role of government.”  I am gravely concerned for the future of our country.

So how can two common sense groups end up on opposite ends of the same debate?  I understand and share my fellow Tea Party members’ concerns about having “Obamacare for Colorado.” I just don’t see SB-200 as necessarily leading us down that path. As was pointed out to me by Rep. Stephen’s aides, it is good that the Tea Party groups are so involved in keeping up with legislation. Citizen oversight of the legislature is crucial. If as I hope, SB-200 passes, I would encourage my fellow Tea Party groups to stay involved in keeping an eye on the Board which is created, to advocate for useful Health Insurance Exchanges. The Heritage Foundation, while opposing Obamacare style Exchanges, believes “Health insurance exchanges are a good idea—if they are used to implement patient-centered and market-based health reforms that enhance choice and value for customers.” *

I also understand and share the concerns of the SEMBA’s Task Force that something needs to be done to rein in health care costs. SB-200 is but one of many reforms that need to be tried – at the state level, not the Federal level. Senator Boyd graciously gave me some of her time one day to discuss SB-200. At the end, we agreed to disagree on PPACA. I would like to point out to Senator Boyd, and anyone else who supports PPACA, that I personally share your goal of affordable health care for all. While not a constitutional mandate, it is a moral mandate for a nation as compassionate as the United States. Unfortunately, not only will PPACA not help, it will make things worse. But that is a different discussion.

I would like to note that, although my paid career was in Health Information Management, I am not currently employed in a health care setting, so have no ulterior motive for supporting SB-200. I am simply a concerned citizen who now voluntarily advocates for the best future possible for our country, state, and specifically my children.

Thank you for your time and the opportunity to express my viewpoint – isn’t the U.S. great? I respectfully urge you to vote yes on SB-200.

 

Cathy Mitchell

5-3-11

*“A State Lawmaker’s Guide to Health Insurance Exchanges” by Edmund F. Haislmaier; Backgrounder, published by The Heritage Foundation, No. 2534, March 21, 2011

After writing the above testimony, I received the following response from Mike Rosen when I asked his opinion on SB-200:

 

Cathy,
 
I'm ambivalent.  Utah has created what appears to be a fairly good exchange plan.  But these plans do accommodate Obamacare and will make it more difficult to repeal.  I'm apprehensive about the makeup of the Colorado board. Not only does it favor Democrats, from past experience I expect it to include some weak Republicans.
 
Mike    
These are my concerns regarding the bill. While not ideal, all legislation takes compromise. Reagan said he would compromise on everything but principle. Some may think that SB-200 goes against principle, but I don't see it that way, so am willing to compromise. If nothing else, hopefully Betty Boyd, et al will be more receptive to future reform bills, such as allowing the purchase of insurance across state lines. Health Care financing does need to be reformed. Moving towards market-based, individual responsibility, is the way to go. SB-200 is touted as a market-based reform. If that turns out to be false, it can be sunseted. 

 

Denver Post has a guest commentary ("Don't get mugged by a politically controlled insurance exchange")  by Brian Schwartz of the Independence Institute that may be of interest even though SB11-200 has been passed by the legislature:

 

http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_18002925

 

 

For reference, there were several other comments posted with the thread at:

 

http://arapahoeteaparty.ning.com/profiles/blogs/urgent-obama-care

 

 

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