Brophy to poor families: Give up cigs, Lotto, and air conditioning to pay for kids’ health care

Colorado State Sen. Greg Brophy had a long cozy chat with KOA’s Mike Rosen today.

Agreement flowed everywhere, even on the issue of dealing with the budget deficit by potentially taking health care away from Colorado kids in poverty.

Brophy told Rosen that co-pays and premiums will likely be required for kids who now get free care in Colorado.

Rosen asked if this meant poor kids would go untreated.

Brophy didn’t answer the question, and instead said:

Well, that’s what the opponents of charging people will say, but I think when you look at it what we’re doing as a matter of public policy is we are allowing people who have their kids on Medicaid to spend their money on other things. For instance, the average Medicaid recipient is four times more likely to smoke than the average Coloradoan. So we’re paying for their kids’ health care, and they’re buying cigarettes instead. And I think if you look at the statistics, you’ll see that they are also much more likely to play the lottery. So instead of paying for their kids’ health care, they are playing in the lottery and buying cigarettes. Oh, and by the way, most of them have air conditioning. So instead of paying for their kids’ health care, they are paying for their air conditioning bills, and it goes on and on and on. I think they should put a little bit of skin in the game.

I thought I could see Rosen nodding, but then I realized I was listening to him on the radio, and I couldn’t see him.

So, all I know for sure was that Rosen was silent, and didn’t ask for evidence that children would, in fact, not get treated if Colorado began charging their parents.

He didn’t question Brophy’s sources or assumptions.

Perhaps a more inquisitive questioner will take up the mantle.

At 18:00 minutes during hour 3

Brophy: We have grown the number of people getting free health care in Colorado. We’re up to 550,000 kids on Medicaid or SCHIP in Colorado, and they pay effectively nothing for their health care. And I don’t think that’s right. Everybody should have a little skin in this game, and I think what we’re going to end up doing, then, is seeking real copays and maybe even a little bit of a premium payment out of people who are on Medicaid or SCHIP.

Rosen: …Does that mean that poor kids are going to go untreated?

Brophy: Well, that’s what the opponents of charging people will say, but I think when you look at it what we’re doing as a matter of public policy is we are allowing people who have their kids on Medicaid to spend their money on other things. For instance, the average Medicaid recipient is four times more likely to smoke than the average Coloradoan. So we’re paying for their kids’ health care, and they’re buying cigarettes instead. And I think if you look at the statistics, you’ll see that they are also much more likely to play the lottery. So instead of paying for their kids’ health care, they are playing in the lottery and buying cigarettes. Oh, and by the way, most of them have air conditioning. So instead of paying for their kids’ health care, they are paying for their air conditioning bills, and it goes on and on and on. I think they should put a little bit of skin in the game.

 

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