How NOT to Oppose the Colorado Option

If the debate about a legislative health care reform plan called the “Colorado Option” comes down to a battle over messaging, then Democrats should feel pretty good about where they stand at the moment.

The arguments about House Bill 1232 began last Friday in the House Health & Insurance Committee. Discussions on a potential compromise deal with insurers, hospitals, and the health care industry have been ongoing, but it still appears that the “Colorado Option” has enough momentum and support to ultimately make it through the legislature at some point in the next month or two. The editorial board of The Durango Herald endorsed the “Colorado Option” earlier this week. Dave Perry of The Aurora Sentinel backed the legislation in an editorial published today.

We talked last week about the various arguments for and against the “Colorado Option,” coming to the general conclusion that supporters of the bill were in a much stronger position than the bill’s detractors. That analysis was strengthened by the silly attacks thrown at the legislation this week in a mail piece from the opposition group calling itself “Colorado’s Health Care Future.”

We’re not sure how widely the following mailer was distributed in Colorado, but it seems to have been largely targeted at “grasstops” opinion leaders. Regardless, the message would fail no matter the audience:


The two main arguments made in this mailer are as follows: 1) Hospitals in Colorado could lose money if the “Colorado Option” becomes law, and 2) A “similar” approach in Washington state led to an increase in health care premiums.

The first argument is so laughable that it’s easy to dismiss: That Colorado hospitals could face “$112 million in losses annually” if the “Colorado Option” becomes law. Colorado hospitals are literally THE MOST PROFITABLE IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY, but even if you didn’t know this, why would the average person care if hospitals lost money? What was the backup argument? That pharmaceutical company executives might be forced to accept smaller annual bonuses?

The second argument requires a little more research to refute, but it doesn’t take long to get there. The mail piece claims that a “similar government-controlled approach” in Washington state ended up making health care premiums more expensive for consumers. But this plan, called “CascadeCare,” was only offered in 13 of Washington’s 39 counties, which would obviously significantly limit the risk pool that should make such plans cheaper for consumers. “CascadeCare” only included about one-third of the state; the “Colorado Option” would include the entire state. In other words, CascadeCare is similar to the “Colorado Option” like apples are similar to car batteries.

These two arguments were presumably selected by hospitals and the health care industry because somebody believed that they were among their strongest talking points. We’d love to know what got left on the cutting room floor.

14 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. davebarnes says:

    The Colorado Option has the potential to reduce insurance company profits so you should oppose it.

  2. 2Jung2Die says:

    Colorado's Health Care Future is a subsidiary of Partnership For America's Health Care Future. The national group – hard to believe – has the involvement of major drugmakers, insurance companies and private hospitals, and has poured serious money into the fight against M4A. I know this diary's about the mailers, but the TV ads suck too, and they're on constantly so they can't be hurting for filthy lucre.

  3. MichaelBowman says:

    Can we bus them to Kansas and let them perish on Mount Sunflower?? If they’re stupid enough to die on a hill over this issue it just as well be one where we don’t have to scale the face of an actual mountain to recover their rotting corpses.

  4. Meiner49er says:

    I agree the premises you examine are laughable, but look at all the dog whistles in this piece and I'd say the Republicons know their audience.

    Struggling white Gerber baby family on the front, and an angry black woman (Harris?) is literally "behind" it all. Hello "white replacement" theory. Also, note that they focus on closures of rural hospitals due to rising costs. True or not, those who received this out in the hinterlands are going to have questions.

    Republicons don't run on logic, they run on fear and, if you're already afraid, they're doing a good job here scaring you shitless.

  5. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    Perhaps Gertie or Duke or Michael can weigh in on this issue. Sunday Denver Post is looking at the Colorado Option from the perspective of small rural hospitals, like the one in Fruita.

    The Pols writer says “the first argument (hospitals in Colorado could lose money) is so laughable that it’s easy to dismiss…..”

    We will gently assume that the writer is an urban progressive. Let’s hear what the rural folks have to say.

    • MichaelBowman says:

      I’ll ask one of our local board members. It’s hard to turn the squelch high enough to tune out all the bullshit out east. After a near two-decades of weekly bs printed in the local paper by Brophy, Hillman, Sonnenberg, Pelton that starts with the premise that everything talked about, proposed, and/or passed by the Democrats is evil and an assault on our way of life, it’s hard to get to the facts. 

      It’s not implausible this will turn out to be a boon for rural health systems.  As with our renewable energy standards journey, the ones complaining the loudest at the onset are also the ones most likely to enjoy the benefits of its execution. 

      • High Valley Lurker says:

        I remember seeing an article about how health care in the San Luis Valley was really helped by Obama’s Expanded Medicaid. People who couldn’t afford health care before, now could, which meant more business for the local health care. If this gets more of the uninsured covered, or helps people to get health care without insane levels of deductables and bankrupting co-pays, it could very well mean more customers for rural health care.

    • gertie97 says:

      Canyon View in Fruita, formerly known as Family Health West, is no small-town struggling rural hospital. Perhaps the author should visit a real one. Meeker or Delta come to mind. Perhaps Cortez. A map would be helpful for the metrocentric writer to get out more.


      • MichaelBowman says:

        In Yuma County (pop. 10,000) we have two nearly-new hospitals (Wray, Yuma) with full clinics. We are really fortunate to have the health infrastructure we have. 

  6. High Valley Lurker says:

    How it sounds to my ears ….

    Proponents: We want you to live.
    Opponents: We want you to die.
    Proponents: We want you to live.
    Opponents: We want you to die.

    Across COVID, public health issues, quack cures, and denying of health care, the Republicans are now clearly the Pro-Death Party.

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