Vail Daily column: What’s next for health care? | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: What’s next for health care?

Health care, namely affordable health care, is a pain point for many across the county. This rings true in the Vail Valley as well, notably for those on the individual market.

As new federal leadership has committed to bringing substantial change to our national health policy framework, Vail Valley Partnership has come together with a broad coalition of stakeholders from throughout Colorado to serve as a partner and resource to our state and Colorado's Congressional delegation as we all work to ensure first, that these changes do not harm our state and its citizens and, second, that we improve on advances we have made where that is possible.

We are encouraged to see leadership from the U.S. House of Representatives reaching out to solicit input on the pending changes because doing so acknowledges implicitly that states play an essential role in health care delivery and therefore deserve an essential role in shaping the policy framework governing that delivery. While the coalition partners come at this work from very different perspectives, all of us have committed to being constructive advocates as we navigate this new ground. Colorado's history of bipartisanship on health care will be a benefit to our country and makes us an essential voice in the debates and decisions to come.

Reflecting that reality in Colorado, we have joined together as a broad coalition of various interests in an attempt to proactively position Colorado to help shape the federal conversation about the future of health care in America. The goal of our collaboration is to set forth clear principles on both the process Congress should follow to bring about these changes and the policy they ultimately adopt. We're sure you can appreciate that when a group as diverse as the one supporting this letter has found common ground, there is a high likelihood that our areas of agreement will provide great value to the people of Colorado as well as our country.

We have structured our agreement around the two essential areas that face us now: The process Congress will follow to arrive at a new health care framework; and the principles they will adhere to with any new policy they enact.

As we look at the process – our most urgent priority at this stage – we feel strongly that a thoughtful, comprehensive approach that respects the need for bipartisan collaboration is the only path forward. To that end, we have developed the following three guiding principles:

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1. Repeal the Affordable Care Act and related federal health policies only with a clearly identified and carefully considered replacement plan. Health care is essential to people's quality of life, a significant economic driver in Colorado and nationally and a major piece of all state and local government responsibility and budgets. Consumers, businesses and governments all need the stability of understanding the federal framework in which they will operate going forward.

2. Given the interconnected nature of health care, across public programs and private markets, addressing component policy pieces in isolation could have significant, negative unintended consequences. Health care is a complex system that requires comprehensive policy solutions. Making piecemeal changes to select parts of the system can have repercussions throughout the different portions of the health care system and our economy.

3. Find a bipartisan path to a new federal health care framework. The partisanship surrounding the enactment of the Affordable Care Act created a major barrier to engage in meaningful policy debate about health care. As a country, we now have the opportunity to change that dynamic.

Coalition partners include groups such as the Colorado Hospital Association, Kaiser Permanente Colorado, Colorado Fiscal Institute, Colorado Competitive Council, and Chambers of Commerce from around the state. Vail Valley Partnership remains committed to providing a voice to our business community on important issues, and we are happy to be active participants in broad coalitions such as this.

Check out this space next week for more details on the Health Care Principles Coalition and how we strive to be of continued collaboration and support to the state and our congressional delegation moving forward to address the health care needs of our community.

Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.