Panel pushes mandatory Colo. health care |

Panel pushes mandatory Colo. health care

Steven K. Paulson
Associated Press
Vail, CO Colorado

DENVER, Colorado ” A state commission on health care recommended Thursday that everyone in Colorado be required to have medical insurance and that the state put more money into child health care and Medicaid.

The commission also recommended subsidies for low-income workers to purchase private insurance.

The commission was appointed by lawmakers and Gov. Bill Ritter to find away to get health care to nearly 800,000 Coloradans who don’t have insurance. Members have acknowledged their initiatives could cost millions of dollars, but they left it to lawmakers to figure how to pay for them.

“These recommendations represent a bold, yet realistic, approach to providing high quality, affordable health care to all Coloradans, a roadmap to reform,” commission Chairman William Lindsay III said.

“This is not merely a laundry list of suggestions. This is a comprehensive, integrated, interdependent package that can be implemented in stages,” he said.

Lindsay said one key recommendation is requiring insurance companies to provide coverage to any applicant who doesn’t have a pre-existing medical condition.

People who have severe health problems but earn too much money to qualify for welfare or other low-income health programs would be eligible for CoverColorado, an existing state program for people who are denied coverage by insurance companies because of their medical conditions.

The panel said employers that don’t offer health insurance should provide plans to help their workers buy coverage.

The panel said administrative costs for physicians, hospitals and insurers could be reduced by streamlining processes and combining functions.

Wellness programs could be encouraged by allowing health plans to discount premiums for people who have healthy behavior and eliminating copays for preventive care.

Lindsay said 24 of the 27 commissioners endorsed the recommendations and the other three dissented.

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