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Working to streamline the system

One of the biggest costs to businesses and families is the cost of health care.

There are several things that we in government can do to reduce the time needed to perform the necessary steps to get health care assistance. If we save time, we save money.

A good example of this is HB 12-1054, carried by Rep. Rhonda Fields. I have gained a lot of respect for Rep. Fields, a legislator who really wants to make government more efficient and effective.

HB 12-1054 simplifies the process for providers who participate in health care programs administered by Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. This bill will eliminate over 1,600 burdensome, duplicative and unnecessary Medicaid contracts with providers that serve clients in the Department’s Children’s Basic Health Plan, the Colorado Indigent Care Program and the School Health Services programs. This is a bill that will streamline the bureaucratic system. It is one small step to saving taxpayer money and lowering the cost of health care.

Another item that keeps health care costs up is the price that doctors and hospitals pay for malpractice insurance. Our son, Luke, contemplated being a medical doctor, but after shadowing a physician for a week and seeing the price that the doctor paid for malpractice insurance, he opted to go into physical therapy. That was too bad, because he would have been a great physician.

I have been doing some research on this issue and have some interesting facts. Currently, malpractice claims against health care professionals employed by a public entity and against public hospitals are limited by the Colorado Governmental Immunity Act to $150,000 per person and $650,000 per occurrence, unless the act is willful and wanton. In addition, punitive damages are not allowed to be brought against public entities and the professionals who work for them. On the other hand, malpractice claims against private health care professionals and private health care institutions are $300,000 per person and there are no limits on economic damages. This is unfair to private health care workers and institutions.

I am running a bill that will lower the limits for private health care professionals and private hospitals to match those for public providers and public hospitals. This should lower the cost of liability insurance to private health care professionals and hospitals. These entities will then be able to lower their rates bringing down the cost of health care — including the cost of insurance — for all of us.

The State of Texas has done this, and many private physicians from all over the country are moving their practices to Texas. My hope is that we can do the same here in Colorado. This may also encourage more young people to go into the health care field. More doctors and other health care professional will help satisfy the need in Colorado, will increase competition which will also help bring down costs, and will also help to bring other jobs to Colorado.

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