As the health care reform debate rages, El Paso County Commissioners didn’t waste time adding their voices to the mounting din.

The board unanimously passed a resolution urging Colorado’s congressional delegation to vote against House Bill 3200.

The resolution suggests the “real solution” to the health care crisis is universal coverage, but only “within the realms of the current health care market.”

The resolution also says that the health care industry in the state accounts for more than 630,000 jobs – and that the public insurance option could threaten hospitals that serve as economic engines in many communities.

John Suits, associate administrator for government affairs at the city-owned hospital, Memorial Health System, says that the public option can help the hospital’s bottom line. Memorial treats most of the uninsured and underinsured patients in the county.

“The bill also eliminates some of the administrative costs that go toward the upper echelon of management in insurance companies,” he said. “The public option will get more people insurance – and that can benefit Memorial.”

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Suits did acknowledge that some smaller businesses might move employees to the public option, if it’s less expensive than private insurance companies.

His reservations about the bill have more to do with what’s left out of it: reimbursement rates and payment methods.

“We still don’t know how they’re going to pay for it,” he said. “And we still don’t know what the reimbursement rate will be.”

The resolution encourages Congress to pursue policies that rely on private options in a regulated insurance market.

But there is still time to add still more voices to the debate. County residents can comment about the resolution before it is ratified by the board at its regular meeting Aug. 13, at 9 a.m. at the Regional Development Center at 2880 International Circle.

See Friday’s Business Journal for more about doctor and hospital support for House Bill 3200.


  1. “Mounting din”? If you’d like it to be more quiet, maybe you newspapers with multiple reporters could free up someone to actually read Congress’ health care plan and tell people what’s in it. What do you say?.

  2. So let me get this straight – one of the top administrators for the city-owned hospital stated that a public option would save tax payer dollars and the conclusion is that it would be bad for the city?

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