Colorado’s Gov. Hickenlooper: “We’ll Show The Nation What’s Possible” With Health Care Reform

I am especially proud of my birthplace and family of origin, here. In a front-page article in the morning’s New York Times, Colorado is embracing the coming October 1, 2013 health care insurance exchange roll-out — with gusto.

The people of Colorado aim to make their roll-out a model for the entire nation. Here is what is possible when politicians embrace the change, and put aside differences. [It helps just a little that Democrats firmly control both of the legislature’s houses and the Governor’s mansion, as well!] True enough, Colorado is financially more sound than the average southern state, and her population is generally healthier than the average state — but what will make the difference — in all states — is widespread enrollment, not slight socio-economic differences among subgroups.

Say whatever else you like, here — and there will be some wrinkles in any rollout of this size and scope — but I encourage the readership to keep an eye on the Centennial State — to see how it’s done. From the Gray Lady (that grand old dame!) then — a bit:

. . . .[Supporters] are traveling the state to explain how it will work, often in electric yellow T-shirts with the message, “Got Insurance?” In the coming weeks, 400 guides will be trained to help the uninsured sign up for coverage, with some targeting groups like Hispanics, gay and lesbian citizens, and even truckers.

This is Colorado, five months before the central provisions of President Obama’s health care law take effect: a hive of preparation, with a homegrown insurance market working closely with state agencies and lawmakers to help ensure the law’s success. Gov. John W. Hickenlooper, a Democrat, is a firm supporter, and the state legislature, controlled by Democrats, has not thrown up any obstacles.

When the legislature voted to allow a state-based insurance market in 2011, Republicans controlled the House of Representatives, but many supported the bill, contending that it would give Colorado more control over how the health care law played out here. This spring, state lawmakers voted along party lines to approve an expansion of Medicaid, which is encouraged but not required under the law. . . .

The deeper the penetration into younger and healthier demographic subsets — the more robust the savings, system wide will be. I do think Colorado’s young people will embrace the exchanges — and join. So, I for one, am hopeful. [The graphic includes a background photo of the Maroon Bells — not far from where I grew up.]

And hope is a good thing. In fact, “it may be the best of all things.”

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