Sunday, November 6, 2016

Vote yes on 69 - Need for Fact-based over Faith-based decision making - and good-bye

This blog was a personal project, the product of happenstance more than any agenda since my passions lie elsewhere. When I started I intended to do more with it, unfortunately work projects waylaid me and the past weeks have left little time for the research, writing, editing blogging requires.  ("unfortunate" is relative, I do need to earn an income so as they say, it's all good.)  

I think it was a solid effort to encourage constructive learning about: 

A) the harm being done by our current corporate For Profits health care system that's being run into the ground by unimaginably greedy men of political power, who possess zero compassion for what's happening at our street level.  

B) to help in understanding ColoradoCare and how citizens of Colorado can become proactive in returning their health care system to one that puts patient care first and foremost .  To encourage a YES vote on Colorado Amendment 69.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Abortion, Right and Wrong By Rachel Richardson Smith

Since I wrote and posted  NARAL Takes The Coward's Approach on Amendment 69I've continued thinking about the bigger question of a woman's sovereignty over her own body and legislative bans on abortion funding.  Obviously I think those bans are very wrong.  But there are the deeper questions that need to be faced and discussed.  Back in about 1994 I read an essay that to this day remains the most insightful review of the topic I've read.  I believe it ought be perquisite reading for all who speak out on abortion one way or the other.  Originally published in Newsweek, March 25, 1985, it has been republished and even studied in writing classes.

NARAL did have valid points that must be addressed.  My only argument with NARAL is that they've chosen to run from the problem rather than showing a willingness to confront it and fix it.  I don't think that's acceptable.  I share the following essay because it adds depth to this discussion.


Abortion, Right and Wrong

By Rachel Richardson Smith

I cannot bring myself to say I am in favor of abortion. I don’t want anyone to have one. I want people to use contraceptives and for those contraceptives to be foolproof. I want people to be responsible for their actions, mature in their decisions. I want children to be loved, wanted, well cared for.

I cannot bring myself to say I am against choice. I want women who are young, poor, single or all three to be able to direct the course of their lives. I want women who have had all the children they want or can afford or their in bad marriages or destructive relationships to avoid being trapped by pregnancy.

So these days when thousands rally in opposition to legalized abortion, when facilities providing abortions are bombed, when the president speaks glowingly of the growing momentum behind the anti-abortion movement, I find myself increasingly alienated from those pro-life groups.

At the same time, I am overwhelmed with mail from pro-choice groups. They, too, are mobilizing their forces, growing articulate in support of their cause, and they want my support. I am not sure I can give it.

I find myself in the awkward position of being both anti-abortion and pro-choice. Neither group seems to be completely right—or wrong. It is not that I think abortion is wrong for me but acceptable for someone else. The question is far more complex than that.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Coloradan$ for Coloradans - Who’$ your $ugar Daddy?

Here's a look at who's providing the financial might to "ColoradansForColoradans" for their massive campaign of misleading ads attacking Amendment 69.

Colorado’s campaign-finance bullies threaten free speech
By Paul Sherman | August 23, 2016


Health Care Industry Moves Swiftly to Stop Colorado’s “Single Payer” Ballot Measure
By Lee Fang  |  Apr. 22 2016


“Coloradans for Coloradans” Funding is Neither For Nor By Coloradans. Opposition Group 99% Bankrolled by Big Money from Corporations, Insurance Industry.
by Owen Perkins | May 4, 2016 | Blog Posts


I tip my hat to Owen Perkins for providing the following information.

Director of Communications at ColoradoCare

Here are a few figures (note the difference between "funds" and "donations"
as of October 3rd:

opposition has 393 donations
opposition average donation is $11,429.08
98% of opposition funds are from corporations
43% of opposition funds are from Colorado

ColoradoCareYES has 3,942 donations
our average donation is $87.13
99.6% of our donations are from individuals
89% of our funds come from Colorado

Top 10 opposition funders:


Kaiser Permanente Financial Servcices

Saturday, October 8, 2016

NARAL Takes The Coward's Approach on Amendment 69.

{edited 10/9/16 evening}
Excuse the aggressive title, but I wanted to get your attention.  This is an open letter to NARAL ProChoice Colorado and anyone else with fears concerning the potential of Amendment 69 and ColoradoCare resulting in the banning of funding for abortions and limited woman's reproductive health care rights.  This fear is disputed by ColoradoCare legal experts. 

I also want to share an under-appreciated aspect of the ProLife/ProChoice argument.  

This is followed by ColoradoCare’s response to ProChoice fears and quotes from an article by John Frank of the Denver Post.  I hope some find it useful.  Feel free to copy and improve.

{Also see: Passing Amendment 69 - Why the Fear? Embrace the Challenge! }

The “Right To Life" movement doesn't represent all of our society.  It doesn't even represent the majority.  It does represent a self-certain faith-based hostility towards a woman's reproductive rights.  It has been successful in forcing their will onto our laws.  

The lawyers of ColoradoCare have explained their legal argument that passing Amendment 69 will supersede the 1984 Article V, section 50 provision that stipulates the ban on public funds.

If it goes to court?  So be it.  The lawyers can get at it and address the legal arguments and this time resoundingly reject the validity of the 1984 ban, thus resolving the issue.

Consider for a moment, a fetus in a woman is a potential human.  It is a life form that has many challenges and hurdles to overcome before it can take on the mantle of human being.  {Do you know that nature, or God, allows a big percentage of conceptions to result in spontaneous abortions as it is.  So, who’s to say? }

What we should say, acknowledge and demand is the recognition that the mother is supremely her own life and body!  She is the host to that potential human being.  She possesses an awareness and love for that little life developing inside of her beyond what any outsider can appreciate.

There are times when a pregnancy will do fundamental harm to a woman’s life and wellbeing.  She, NOT outsiders with an ideological ax to grind, along with her loved ones and caregivers are best suited to evaluate the situation and support the woman in making the appropriate choices no matter how heartbreaking.  It is not society’s concern beyond allowing the woman to do the best she can, given her circumstances.

A woman has a right to self-defense and these bans on abortion are an affront to that right of self-defense, a fundamental American Right.  

ProgressNow Colorado should reconsider their opposition to Amendment 69 (Senator Aguilar)

In keeping with my mission to collect relevant information that can help folks make an informed decision on how to vote for Amendment 69 I want to share this article by Senator Irene Aguilar, one of its architects.  It was written in response to ProgressNow’s rejection of Amendment 69 due to fears of it’s impact on reproductive rights in Colorado. (PS my title, her op-ed)


Senator Irene Aguilar, MD: “ColoradoCare is real progress, right now”

Earlier this week, ProgressNow, a nonprofit that claims to support progressive issues, came out against ColoradoCare/Amendment 69. With this decision, the organization abandoned the people of Colorado and joined forces with status quo establishment politicians and profit- driven private insurers who make it their business to deny care to those who need it most. ProgressNow abandoned legendary progressive voices like Noam Chomsky, who endorsed ColoradoCare in July, and joined forces with corporate insurance lobbyists and Big Pharma, who are spending millions of dollars to spread fear and lies about universal health care.
By opposing ColoradoCare, ProgressNow showed it is not looking for real progress, and certainly not now. But real progress is exactly what the people of Colorado need. Right now.
Our current health care system is broken. Corporate insurers care about their wealth, not our health. One million (one out of five) Coloradans are underinsured. 350,000 Coloradans have no insurance. 535 Coloradans die each year because we cannot afford the care we need. The sick, poor, and elderly, terms that apply to most of us at some point, are often stuck with inadequate care and costly medical bills.
Meanwhile, profits under the corporate system are skyrocketing. Corporate insurance rates for next year are forecast to rise sharply — by as much as 40 percent for one insurer — and there’s no end in sight. Aetna’s 2nd quarter profits were up 8.5 percent from last year. They made a profit of $783.3 million, and CEO Mark Bertolini took home $27.9 million. Still, Aetna was “losing money” with the sick, those who actually need coverage, and so it is pulling out of the Affordable Care Act exchanges in 11 states to focus on more lucrative markets.
Having worked as a primary care physician at Denver Health for 18 years, I have witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of the inability to afford basic health care. In 2007,

Friday, October 7, 2016

Worker Comp Insurance Cost Shifting Study. Leigh 2012

To finish today's marathon session I want to share this 2012 Study by Paul Leigh and James Marcin from UC Davis in California.  A study that revealed massive worker compensation insurance cost shifting.  Please think about it.  None of that was done in the interest of better patient care, it was all about making the system churn out more corporate profits.  Why do we put up with it?  Before complaining about the costs of Amendment 69, think about how much your health insurance cost is going to increase.  How much will your health care improve? 

Shouldn't our health care dollars go to providing our health care?  

Vote YES on ColoradoCare and Amendment 69.

{ hat tip to Dr. Tom Horiagon for sharing this and the previous Department of Labor 2016 study that provided further supporting evidence for these complaints and the need for substantive health care reform. } 

Of all the posts I've put up today, may I recommend 
"Passing Amendment 69 - Why the Fear?  Embrace the Challenge!" 
Workers' compensation benefits and shifting costs for occupational injury and illness.

Whereas national prevalence estimates for workers' compensation benefits are available, incidence estimates are not. Moreover, few studies address which groups in the economy pay for occupational injury and illness when workers' compensation does not.

Data on numbers of cases and costs per case were drawn from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and National Council on Compensation Insurance data sets. Costs not covered by workers' compensation were estimated for private and public entities.

Total benefits in 2007 were estimated to be $51.7 billion, with $29.8 billion for medical benefits and $21.9 billion for indemnity benefits. For medical costs not covered by workers' compensation, other (non-workers' compensation) insurance covered $14.22 billion, Medicare covered $7.16 billion, and Medicaid covered $5.47 billion.

Incidence estimates of national benefits for workers' compensation were generated by combining existing published data. Costs were shifted to workers and their families, non-workers' compensation insurance carriers, and governments.

Source:  J Occup Environ Med. 2012 Apr;54(4):445-50. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3182451e54.

UC Davis Health System Newsroom | May 25, 2012
Most occupational injury and illness costs are paid by the government and private payers rather than workers' compensation insurance, UC Davis study shows

Paul Leigh‚ Sacramento, California |

Executive Summary Labor Department Workers Comp Report 2016

This is a follow up to the previous post.  Here is the full text of the reports Executive Statement.  It belongs here because it underscores the need for substantive change that will not come about from the same corporate interests that have created this problem to begin with.  ColoradoCare, Amendment 69 provides a solid framework upon which to build a patient responsive Colorado workers comp and health care system.  Vote Yes on Amendment 69.

U.S. Labor Department Workers Comp Report 2016



State-based workers’ compensation programs provide critical support to workers who are injured or made sick by their jobs. These programs are a key component of the country’s social benefit structure and of occupational safety policy, and the only major component of the social safety net with no federal oversight or minimum national standards. This Report provides an introduction to these programs, but it also sounds an alarm: working people are at great risk of falling into poverty as a result of workplace injuries and the failure of state workers’ compensation systems to provide them with adequate benefits.

Despite the sizable cost of workers’ compensation, only a small portion of the overall costs of occupational injury and illness is borne by employers. Costs are instead shifted away from employers, often to workers, their families and communities. 

US Labor Department - Workers Comp "race to the bottom”

When workers comp insurance executives fly around Colorado proclaiming how well Colorado's Workers Comp functions, remember their number one concern is how well it functions in making profits for them.  Once we get past the pretty advertising brochures patients are merely revenue producing units.  These harsh words are justified by the ugly little secret that even the US Labor Department has had to acknowledge. Workers Comp programs are being straggled by insurance corporation more interested in profits that caring for people.

It's time for a new health care system, one that is responsive to patients, not to amoral corporate overlords.  ColoradoCare's Amendment 69 provides the framework to create such a health care system.  Vote Yes on Amendment 69!

{ hat tip to Dr. Tom Horiagon } 

Labor Report Urges Study Of A Federal Role In State Workers' Comp Laws


October 5, 2016

A "race to the bottom" in state workers' compensation laws has the Labor Department calling for "exploration" of federal oversight and federal minimum benefits.

"Working people are at great risk of falling into poverty," the agency says in a new report on changes in state workers' comp laws. …

The report was prompted by a letter last fall from 10 prominent Democratic lawmakers, who urged Labor Department action to protect injured workers in the wake of a ProPublica/NPR series on changes in workers' comp laws in 33 states.

Passing Amendment 69 - Why the Fear? Embrace the Challenge!

I believe a most important aspect of ColoradoCare’s Amendment 69 has been overlooked in the media discussion.  

Voting yes and getting Amendment 69 passed will be Coloradans making a social contract committed to creating an efficient patient responsive health care system.  It won’t be a ready-made entity.  Expecting that is unrealistic.  

It will require commitment and the pro-active participation of many, each bringing their own perspectives and expertise.  Even those of us with no particular expertise other than being at the receiving end of today’s unresponsive medical bureaucracy and hostile scheming insurance representatives, will have our part to play.  Namely, remaining informed in order to support and help guide the experts as they work out the details of ColoradoCare.

The medical health professionals who have done the most to formulate ColoradoCare understand health care above all else.  They were tired of having their talents and time squandered by meaningless costly paper work that only serves to make life more difficult and stressful for everyone.  They understand the system's good and bad better than anyone.  

What they have done with Amendment 69 is to define a process and a structure around which the details can be molded.  It's well thought out and passing Amendment 69 will conclude the first chapter, with the next chapter being the formulating and finalizing of exact details of the ways and means of ColoradoCare.  I do trust these experts to work together for the most constructive outcomes.  I also believe they will learn from mistakes and refine the system as we move forward.

Rather than fear, we should embrace the chance to rebuild our outrageously overpriced and ineffective health care system.

Now, consider the corporate execs who have been running around Colorado loudly denouncing ColoradoCare.  Think about who they are, and what their standards and expectations are - ever increasing revenue streams and profits Corporate exec's past behavior indicates that providing efficient health care at the best cost possible is certainly not among their priorities.

I wonder what the average Colorado voters' priorities are?

Of course, the usual suspects are desperate to continue skimming their cut.  Of course, they are engaging in whatever it takes to defeat Amendment 69.  Truth is no obstacle to the yarns they are spinning.  Of course, they’ve got the bucks to buy the biggest megaphone and will have their way.  

The question is, are Coloradans going to buy corporate volume over substance?  Or assume responsibility for our own Colorado's health care system?

ColoradoCare is a well considered, if audacious plan to take back health care from the corporate octopus that has invaded it and created today’s system that puts profits first and foremost and looks at we patients and clients as revenue generating units.

Why are we allowing corporations to gobble up a third and more of every medical dollar we spend on health care?  

Of course, winning that back and reestablishing a patience first health care industry in Colorado will take vision, commitment and work.  So be it.  Isn’t that what life is all about?  If it’s worth having, you'd better be willing to put some serious effort into it.  ColoradoCare provides a good framework.  Coloradans can do this.    Vote Yes on Amendment 69 Weighs In On ColoradoCare Revenues

Not much to add.  More food for thought.
Report says ColoradoCare would have higher revenues than McDonald’s
By Alan Gathright on Wednesday, May 4th, 2016

An independent analysis says Colorado's proposed universal health care system would have $38 billion in projected revenues …

The report, by the Colorado Health Institute, is a primer on the potential benefits and drawbacks of ColoradoCare, a proposed state health care cooperative that would resemble single-payer health care systems like those in Canada and Europe. …

"Supporters estimate ColoradoCare would have $38 billion in annual revenues," the report states.

We examined the statement that ColoradoCare’s projected revenues would be $38 billion and overshadow huge corporates. We found that the number is right in theory, but it depends on the federal government signing off on a first-of-its-kind health system for Colorado. …

An economic analysis by supporters says ColoradoCare would produce a net savings of $4.5 billion for residents and businesses by eliminating private insurance profits, streamlining paperwork and more efficiently delivering services. …

About $25 billion would come from state taxes. Employers would pay 6.67 percent in payroll taxes and employees would contribute 3.33 percent, for a total of 10 percent of the payroll. Self-employed people would pay 10 percent of their net income. {and not having to pay exorbitant health insurance premiums!}

The projected $25 billion in tax revenues have been independently confirmed by an economist at the Colorado Legislative Council, which provided a revenue impact report to the state board that reviews the language and legality of an initiative's ballot title and summary. …

Ryan Warner hosts debate on ColoradoCare and Amendment 69

Since this is an information kiosk, thought I'd share the following:

Debate: Colorado Voters To Decide On Universal Health Care (Transcript)

The way many Coloradans pay for health care would change dramatically if voters approve Amendment 69 on the ballot this fall. Under the new system taxes would go up significantly to fund a new insurance program called ColoradoCare that would replace private insurance bought from companies like Kaiser Permanente and Blue Cross.
Colorado Matters host Ryan Warner hosted a debate on the measure with T.R. Reid, who leads the campaign to support it, and Cody Belzley, a consultant with the largest opposition group, called Coloradans for Coloradans.

Who are these supposed Coloradans for Coloradans?

I've notice that even the notorious climate science denial Chicago PR firm Heartland Institute has gotten into the act of bashing Amendment 69.  In response I thought I'd share this bit of information about who's funding the massive advertisement flood in Colorado. 

"Coloradans for Coloradans" Funding Neither For Nor By Coloradans

Opposition Group 99% Bankrolled by Big Money from Corporations, Insurance Industry

Denver, CO - The first campaign finance reports of the election year drew a stark contrast between the "people over profits" campaign in support of ColoradoCare, Amendment 69, and the corporate insurance industry interests that are lining up to defeat it. 

If contributions equated to votes, Amendment 69 would pass with 98.64% of the vote, based on the campaign finance reporting of ColoradoCareYES and the opposition group Coloradans for Coloradans.  Of the 1,108 contributions both campaigns received from registered voters in Colorado, 1,093 of them were in support of ColoradoCareYES as opposed to 15 for the opposition.

"Unfortunately for the inaptly named Coloradans for Coloradans, their fundraising reflects the character of the corporate insurance industry whose grip on health care they are trying to defend," said Owen Perkins, Director of Communications for ColoradoCare.  "To preserve a status quo that puts profits first and prioritizes eight-figure CEO salaries over the well-being of patients, Coloradans for Coloradans collected 99.85% of their funds from corporations."

Industry giants like the Ohio-based Anthem contributed up to a half a million dollars apiece to protect their interests and defeat Amendment 69, while actual individuals accounted for only $1,640 raised.

By contrast, 99.75% of ColoradoCareYES's contributions were from individuals, with 94% of the money raised coming from within Colorado. 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Coloradans for Coloradan need YES on Amendment 69

{edited for typos, Thursday 6:45pm}

The main reason opponents of Amendment 69, such as ColoradansForColoradans.Com have to say Vote No is that it will be a challenging audacious undertaking that will take much effort over the next couple years to succeed.  

That's a scary thing.  We fear change.  We fear challenges.  

What the corporate funded ColoradansForColoradans.Com doesn't tell you is why so many Coloradans want to embrace that challenge of rebuilding our health care system.  

Our current heath care system is increasingly run by corporations whose number one duty above all else is to provide profits for share holders and earning bonuses for executives.  That is it!  Everything else is secondary to that "fiduciary responsibility."  When Pinnacol's CEO and president goes around raving about how great Colorado's worker comp system is, it's because it's a great profit machine!

Why not ask around among your friends and relatives, find out who's been injured on the job, ask them about how well the process served them.  What about the enormous  insurance premium increases in line for next year?  

ColoradoCare is all about caregivers who got sick of seeing 30 to 40% of their time and talent going to administrative paperwork, much of it dedicated to rejecting claims.  They want to treat patients - not serve corporate overlords and their endless demands for paperwork.  They got tired of seeing the consequences of corporate's amoral attitude towards people in need.


rather than frivolous profits for a few.

That for me is what ColoradoCare and Amendment 69 is all about.

For more evidence to support my opinions, please read the following.

(hat tip to Tom Horiagon MD)
U.S. Labor Department: 
States Are Failing Injured Workers

A new Department of Labor report says cuts to state workers’ comp systems have left injured workers with inadequate benefits and raises the specter of federal oversight. The findings echo those of a ProPublica and NPR investigation last year.

ProPublica, Oct. 5, 2016, 6:01 a.m.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The strange saga of Tom Horiagon MD vs. the Colorado Medical Board

{The following was writing for the October issue of the Four Corners Free Press.}

On Sept. 8, I read a well-written but misleading letter to the editor in the Durango Telegraph. The letter dismissed ColoradoCare Amendment 69 and went on to praise the perfection of our current Colorado workers comp arrangement. The author, a big-time insurance executive, skipped over the many reasons so many workers feel abandoned, cheated and locked out by what they experience as an adversarial workers comp insurance bureaucracy.

Too many workers find themselves forced to deal with insurance representatives, investigators and regulatory agents who seem to view every claimant as an enemy.

Instead of being allowed to focus on resolving questions and healing, injured workers too often find themselves having to struggle for legitimate compensation from a hostile system.

After reading the letter I felt compelled to give voice to the ignored side of this story. For my response I did a lot of internet trawling for information and my, oh, my, the onslaught of ugly stories and sad facts overwhelmed me at times.

First, revelations of the scandalous health-insurance executive perks, bonuses, golden parachutes and such that have been paid for by developing a culture dedicated to rejecting claims.