Sen. Irene Aguilar and Sen. Ellen Roberts

Most physicians by now have heard that we, along with our House colleagues Reps. Stephens and Schafer, have proposed the creation of the Colorado Commission on Affordable Health Care Costs, an eclectic, bipartisan collection of legislators, experts from both the public and private sectors, employers and payers, as well as caregivers and care-receivers who are charged with producing evidence-based recommendations to the governor and the General Assembly for the next three legislative sessions before sun-setting in the summer of 2017. 

Most physicians and many of our colleagues at the statehouse, regardless of their party allegiances, already understand that unless we bring our state’s collective talents to bear to flatten the cost curve, the sheer weight of uncontrolled health care expenditures will compromise our ability to grow our economy and assure a prosperous business climate. It will also crowd out the state’s investments in vital infrastructure – not only health services but other essentials like water supply and quality, roads and bridges, and public and higher education, to mention a few.

We know there are successful working models here in Colorado and across the country that motivate patients toward treatment adherence and healthier lifestyles, defragment care delivery, and trim redundant, unnecessary or suboptimal services to get more of our fellow citizens the right care at the right time, place and value. The commission’s charge is to first conduct cost driver forensics so we are confident of the epidemiology of health care costs relevant to our state, and subsequently evaluate, consolidate, propagate and adapt those best practices to Colorado, whether in the form of market-based solutions, public policy reforms that support that urgent premise, or both.

Colorado’s thought leaders across the political spectrum have a long history of coming together when confronted with a clear and present danger to our state’s general health. We have an enviable track record of consensus building, notwithstanding often vigorous debate, that seeks to fix problems rather than blame. We strongly believe this complex undertaking will require a collaborative, thoughtful approach, based on where the evidence and a consensus among these experienced, capable professionals in the field lead us.

We look forward to working with the Colorado Medical Society, and are grateful for your steadfast commitment to the underlying principles of transparency and accountability in health care delivery.

Bi-partisan support for new cost commission

Sen. Irene Aguilar (D-Denver)
“The efforts to bring health coverage to more working Coloradans is meaningless if we can’t also assure those patients get the right care for the right value.”

Sen. Ellen Roberts (R-Durango)
“Cutting health care costs requires a surgical approach. It demands precision and good analytics so that we are trimming fat – redundant and unnecessary care – not healthy tissue.”

Rep. Sue Schafer (D-Wheat Ridge)
“Our commission of experts will help us analyze a body of good national data and apply it locally to Colorado.”

Rep. Amy Stephens (R-Monument)
“Increasing health care expenditures makes state budgeting a zero-sum game. Unless we can get these costs under control, fewer dollars will be available to educate our kids, repair our highways and improve our infrastructure.”

Categories: Communications, Colorado Medicine, Final Word, Health System Reform, Initiatives, Advocacy