Club 20 to address health insurance

Businesses and individuals can learn about their options in Colorado under the new health insurance laws at the Club 20 fall meeting.

Club 20, the Western Slope advocacy group, will sponsor several discussions about “Accessing Health Care Through the Affordable Care Act” on Sept. 7 at Two Rivers Convention Center.

Except for lunch, the event will be open to the public to help individuals learn more about the Affordable Care Act, which becomes effective Jan. 1, 2014.

Patty Fontneau, chief executive officer of Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s health insurance exchange, will discuss the implications of the new law for individuals and small business at 8:20 a.m.

Connect for Health Colorado is scheduled to begin working with consumers Oct. 1 on www.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce manager for health care policy, Jennifer Pierotti, will discuss what small businesses need to know about the law at 9:45 a.m. and what large businesses need to know at 
10:45 a.m.

Greg Walcher, a former Club 20 president and the author of “Smoking Them Out: The Theft of the Environment and How to Take it Back,” will speak at lunch, followed by U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., whose district includes most of the Western Slope.

Health care issues will retake the stage at 1:15, when Dr. David West, vice president at Hope-West, will discuss how best to choose a provider and an insurance plan.

At the same time, Sue Birch, executive director of the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Finance, will talk about the expansion of Medicaid in the state.

Health care costs and spending will be up for discussion at 2:15 p.m. by Bell Policy Center analyst Bob Semro and at 
3 p.m., Jay Want of the Center for Improving Health Care will discuss making the system better.

People interested in attending the sessions are urged to register so organizers can better determine what space they will need.

“We want people to attend the information sessions, but we do need people to register,” Club 20 Executive Director Bonnie Petersen said.

Registration is available at or by calling 242-3264.

The luncheon is $25 per person.


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Mike Bambino should get his facts straight.  [See:  on-line letter, “Obamacare will cost trillions, increase government dependency”, August 30, 2013.]

Thus, as reported by Bloomberg News yesterday, Rand Corporation researchers found that “Predictions of sharp increases in health-insurance premiums for people getting coverage under the Affordable Care Act have been over-stated and many states will see little to no change”.  Actually, health insurance premiums annually increased by an average of 10% to 15% in the decade prior to the Affordable Care Act, but by only 6.1% in 2011, 4.1% in 2012, and 4% in 2013 (and never Bambino’s “30%”).

While some employers are indeed cutting jobs and hours to reduce their health insurance expenses, 94% of firms with more than 50 employees will still provide at least employee coverage.  Moreover, the Congressional Budget Office (“CBO”) found “ObamaCare” to be a net “job creator” – reducing existing employment by 0.5%, but stimulating millions of new health care jobs and enabling smaller businesses to expand by reducing and subsidizing their health insurance costs.

Seniors were being “rationed” before “ObamaCare” (due to Congressionally-imposed caps on Medicare reimbursement rates), and older doctors were retiring for a variety of reasons (including the cost of converting to electronic medical records).  Meanwhile, S.744 – the comprehensive “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act” now pending before the House – could greatly increase the inflow of qualified foreign-trained physicians using Conrad-30 J-1 visa waivers.

As to “freeloaders (both legal and illegal)”, S.744 expressly exempts undocumented immigrants from eligibility for “ObamaCare”).

FACT:  employers and individuals will pay for health insurance coverage (not “free”), and the CBO estimates that only 35 million (not Bambino’s 150 million) Americans will qualify for subsidies by 2019, costing $210 billion annually (not Bambino’s “trillions”).

Therefore, Sentinel readers should better attend Club 20’s all-day program on September 7 (Gary Harmon, “Club 20 to address health insurance”) rather than believe Bambino.

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