Vail Daily letter: ‘Yes’ on Amendment 69
September 26, 2016
I read with interest the recent article on Amendment 69 and am glad to see it being publicly discussed. I have been intimately involved in the health care system for over 30 years as a provider, consumer, educator, quality coordinator and administrator and have seen it from all sides with all its successes and blemishes. I am in favor of Amendment 69 even there are many unknowns as to its implementation.
Several points about our current system have prompted me to take this stand. I believe healthcare insurance should be universally available and would be better run on a nonprofit basis. The whole goal of the for-profit insurance companies is to maximize profits by collecting our premiums and paying out as little as possible for our medical care. In fact they call that percentage of their collections that are actually paid out for our care the medical loss ratio. For every $100 the insurance company collects from us in premiums, only about $70-85 goes to pay for our care. The rest stays with the company, pays for overhead and is used for sometimes exorbitant salaries, advertising, dividends, etc. For comparison, Medicare operates with an overhead of only about 4 percent.
The money saved in overhead alone by switching from a for-profit to a nonprofit medicare type system should help provide enough funds for Colorado to provide universal coverage without substantially increasing what we have to pay. In fact, some analyses have actually shown cost savings overall from such a switch. As a consumer and a provider I have found that dealing with Medicare is substantially easier than dealing with the private insurers with their incomprehensible explanation of benefits, deductibles, networks, pre-approvals, formularies, denials, etc., all of which are designed so they will not have to pay for our care.
I know this would be a radical departure from the status quo but I believe Colorado has the expertise to make it work and I believe the time to try it is now.
Michael Ansfield, MD