Bob Semro, a policy analyst at the Bell, was scheduled to present an Opportunity Note on the hospital provider fee and the Health Care Affordability Act of 2009 (House Bill 1025) to the House Health and Environment Committee on Tuesday. The Bell opposes the bill, which would overturn the act.
Here are excerpts of the Opportunity Note. For pdf version, click here.
A few years ago, many Colorado hospitals faced a common problem: how to cover the cost of patients without insurance.
Hospitals can't turn away the sick, and if uninsured patients couldn't pay for their care, or public programs did not cover the hospital's cost, the bill for that "uncompensated care" was passed on, or shifted, to individuals and businesses with health-care coverage.
In 2009, lawmakers passed the Colorado Health Care Affordability Act to help address this problem. The Colorado Hospital Association and doctors and consumer groups supported the law.
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The Roaring Fork Valley has a higher median income and lower rate of poverty than the rest of the state. However, the number of area residents who lack health insurance or rely solely on public insurance ??? nearly one in every four ??? is near the state average.
The San Luis Valley faces some of the greatest health care challenges in the state. Health care providers serve an area that encompasses about 8,000 square miles. The majority of people served, residents, migrants and seasonal farm workers, rely on public health insurance or have no health insurance coverage at all.
Weld County is growing faster than any other metropolitan area in the nation. Weld County is the third leading agricultural area in the nation, attracting an estimated 6,000 migrant workers every season. Rapid growth means a great demand is placed on the county???s health infrastructure.
The Colorado Department of Local Affairs projects the Grand Valley to grow faster than the Front Range over the next 25 years. Most growth has come in unincorporated areas of the Grand Valley, increasing demand to extend urban health care services to rural areas.