A Republican state House candidate’s proposal that the “government needs to remain out” of health care could lead to hundreds of Coloradans with pre-existing conditions losing their medical health insurance, in response to an authority on health care policy.
That’s what happened prior to the passage of the Reasonably priced Care Act when the federal government didn’t require medical health insurance corporations to cover individuals with pre-existing conditions.
But Republican state House candidate David Buckley was adamant about his stance during a debate together with his Democratic opponent Julie McCluskie on Saturday.
Through the debate, McCluskie — the incumbent — said she was happy with a program she helped pass to lower medical health insurance premiums on the person marketplace by 36% on the Western Slope, where much of Mcluskie’s district is positioned.
“Health care is complicated,” McCliuskie said from the stage. “I’ve talked to a lot of you about it. I realize it’s tough. But we’ve to maintain leaning in and doing more.”
“I agree with ya; health care is hard, which is why I feel the federal government needs to remain out of it,” responded Buckley. “Government already has Medicare and Medicaid, as government health care programs. I’ve worked in those programs. There’s a medical transportation profit associated to those programs. I see the corruption. I’ve seen the unintentional and the intentional corruption. The federal government doesn’t have the power to administer these programs, and the larger it gets, the more complex it becomes.”
Pointing to Obamacare for example, experts say government involvement in health care can lower costs and improves advantages.
“Essentially, we had an unregulated health care and medical health insurance market prior to the Reasonably priced Care Act, and that led to tens of hundreds of Coloradans being denied access to medical health insurance coverage because that they had even minor pre-existing conditions,” said Adam Fox of the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, a health care advocacy group. “The talking point that government shouldn’t have a task in health care and controlling costs is laughable because Colorado has demonstrated how it may well be effective. It is usually frightening because if there isn’t that oversight, health care costs will proceed to balloon and push much more Coloradans into medical debt.”
At the start of the Grand Junction debate, hosted by Club 20, a western Colorado civic group, McCluskie told the group she’d helped pass a reinsurance bill that “has brought down medical health insurance premiums on the person marketplace by 36% on the Western Slope.”
Buckley responded to McCluskie later in the controversy, essentially saying she didn’t know what she was talking about.
“Well, let me let you know, working in health take care of 30 years, I hear Rep. McCluskie talk in regards to the 36% savings. Let me tell ya, working with actuaries and underwriters, if you end up lowering premiums, you’re either losing advantages otherwise you’re paying a better deductible. So in other words, you’re not having insurance. What we’d like to do is to get government to take more of a back seat to health care because they really don’t have the power to administer it. They don’t understand the ins and outs of what happens with underwriting and the way that comes out with pricing. It’s all pool-based. That’s how medical health insurance works. And don’t make the error that medical health insurance and health care are the identical. They’re not. Okay. In order that’s an enormous mistake that folks make. One in every of the large things we’d like to do is let the experts manage health care.”
In response, McCluskie said, “I’m extremely proud by the steps that the Legislature has taken with reinsurance to bring medical health insurance prices down on the person marketplace. We do this by driving revenue in, not by increasing deductibles, not by increasing premiums.”
Fox and other experts explain that reinsurance lowers premiums by cutting the prices of insurance firms.
“What can or should the state Legislature do to make sure inexpensive, accessible, and effective health take care of Coloradans.”
“That’s probably not accurate,” says Fox, referring to Buckley’s comment which you could’t lower premiums without losing advantages or paying a better deductible. “It’s exactly what reinsurance does, and what other policies just like the Colorado Option are working to do. Reinsurance alleviates the insurance carriers’ costs for really high-cost claims in order that medical health insurance carriers don’t must increase premiums or shift more costs onto consumers.”
Buckley didn’t return a call and email searching for comment.
Buckley and McCluskie are vying to represent House District 13 (HD13), which covers a swath of the state west of I70 from about Idaho Springs past Walden.
Watch the controversy between Buckley and McCluskie here.