In an effort to justify health care exchanges in states, have you heard any lawmakers touting the Utah model as an example to follow?
Here in Colorado, State Senator Betty Boyd(D) and House Majority Leader Amy Stephens(R) have co-sponsored SB 11-200 that creates “a process for the implementation of a health benefit exchange in Colorado.” It’s a bill that’s on the table, awaiting a formal reading, as I write this post.
The Utah Model According to Representative Stephens
Representative Stephens sent an email to her constituents last night, of which I am one. In it, she justified her sponsorship of the bill using several flawed arguments. One of them depends on the Utah Model. Stephens writes:
“I was intrigued with the Utah exchange model, and so I met with the state’s designers to get a sense of the work around creating an exchange for small business in Colorado. What began in Utah as a struggling pilot program in 2010 (11 small businesses, 116 covered lives) has grown into a free market solution for small businesses wanting to provide health insurance to their employees – 69 small groups with 2,000 covered lives (as of March 2011). For those without employer coverage, the exchange offers links to insurance brokers who sell non-group insurance. Four of Utah’s five major carriers offer health plans through the exchange, and there are 140 possible benefit plans offered.”
The Utah Model According to Health Care Policy Analyst
John R. Graham of the Pacific Research Institute reminds us that Utah’s model was a pre-Obamacare exchange, something less worrisome before ObamaCare. Today, the Utah Health Exchange has only 2,000 beneficiaries, yet Utah is a state with 3.5 million people. In contrast, Obamacare exchanges will devour 80-100 million people nationwide.
Mr. Graham writes more about the Utah Model in his article, “Debating the Wisdom of Creating Health Exchanges:”
It has never been tested: “Some claim that the Utah Health Exchange is a consumer-friendly model that can blunt the most harmful consequences of Obamacare … however, enthusiasm for the Utah Health Exchange must be tempered. This “premium aggregator” has never been tested. It just launched this year. Indeed reports from only a few months ago describe the exchange as a disappointment. Although 20 businesses enrolled on the first day of operations in August 2009, and 136 businesses in total signed up, only 13 remained enrolled by last December.”
It’s unlikely to survive the ObamaCare take-over: “Even if the new, improved Utah Health Exchange has figured out a way to increase consumers’ choices, it is unlikely that such choices will survive the Obamacare take-over. Official sources estimate that about half a trillion federal dollars will flow into Obamacare exchanges between 2014 and 2019, and these likely underestimate the true costs of the subsidies. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 3 million of the 24 million people who will enter the exchanges in 2019 will come from the 162 million who would have otherwise enjoyed employer-based benefits. The actual number will be far greater. Independent analysis concludes that anyone who earns less than $80,000 annually will be dumped into an exchange.”
ObamaCare will corrupt Utah: “This fire hose of subsidies explains why it is far more likely that Obamacare will corrupt Utah than Utah will manage to redeem Obamacare. President Obama and Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services, want to eliminate private choice of health insurance in favor of a government monopoly. Once the subsidies start flowing, Secretary Sebelius will be able to impose whatever restrictive regulations she wants.”
Graham sums it up best when he says this:
“Once we defeat ObamaCare totally, we can re-hash exchanges. As long as Obamacare exists, they are poison.”
Do YOU think Representative Stephens(R) should be facilitating ObamaCare in Colorado???
If you say NO, contact Representative Stephens today and tell her to stop facilitating ObamaCare, and that you want NO health care exchanges in Colorado. Tell her to pull her name from sponsoring this bill and to vote against any exchanges for Colorado. This is about freedom from massive federal intervention in our lives, and it starts right here. Here’s her contact information:
Rep Amy Stephens
Rm # 271
2000 E Colfax
Denver, CO 80203