Why We Need a Change: Tackling the Complexities of Health Care in Colorado

At PeakChange we’ve invested in several start up companies dedicated to advancing efficiency in the health sector over the past 5 years (CirrusMD, Transparent Health, MedClimate) and I sit on the board of a small med-tech company.  Through these investments, I’ve grown to understand what it takes for a company to have a profound effect in the market, make a difference in community health and navigate entrenched interests.

Plus - I’m just really interested in the complexities of health care economics and have found the user access/coverage aspects of health care fascinating!  You don’t have to be a provider, administrator or policymaker to get more active in the health sector.

Watch this video and tell me you’re not surprised about spiraling costs. 

You knew we spent too much, but did you realize it was more than any other developed country? We spend 18% of GDP on healthcare, whereas the rest of the world spends 10%. That difference alone is enough to pay for our entire defense department and eliminate our deficit! We could have 100% coverage instead of 80% coverage and greatly reduce the number of bankruptcies that result from medical bills that cripple individuals and families across the nation . The sad reality is that U.S. healthcare costs will continue to rise faster than anywhere else in the world and Americans will not get better healthcare outcomes as a result. This is not a simple problem and there are no easy solutions. It is vital for us to grapple with the complexities of this unacceptable healthcare system, the biggest drag on the U.S. economy (further recommended reading: America’s Bitter Pill & Healing of America).

I’m a big fan of the Affordable Care Act aka ACA aka Obamacare. I believe it’s a moral imperative that all Americans should receive full coverage. When my wife changed jobs recently, there was a common sixty day wait period for employer-sponsored health coverage for her and our two children. I think this is a bad policy. When I was President of Examiner.com, I routinely waived this provision for new employees. Why? - Because it was the right thing to do. I did not opt into her company plan and was able to obtain the health insurance I wanted through the Colorado HealthOp at the start of the next month (which was just three days away for me at the time). Why can’t this be the case for all Americans?

To address these complexities on larger scale than my own experience with the system, I’ve found a unique opportunity to become more involved with health reform -  through applying to become a board member with the Colorado HealthOp.

Even though insurers typically operate with low margins and are not the source of the health care inflationary pressure, they still only provide one opportunity to tackle the overall problem.  A non-profit, member-driven co-op is best positioned to work with providers to control costs and allow members to take control of their own health. The Colorado HealthOp’s focus on health and alignment with healthy, active individuals and families is a smart way to control costs and foster great life balance in the Colorado community.  As a nimble, community based organization, Colorado HealthOp is well positioned to push quality programs around health accountability and improvements, like the clever First Friday health screenings, where I first became acquainted with Colorado HealthOp.

So many of the current financial challenges in the health care ecosystem are rooted in failed policy.  My potential contribution to the Colorado HealthOp Board provides a platform to educate, empower and activate the Colorado community to make positive policy improvements.       

Stay tuned to see what happens next!

~ Jim