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November 20, 2006 11:11 PM UTC

Pick Your Policy

  • 94 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

It’s quieter in Colorado today than a Republican victory party on Election Day, so we’re diverting from our normal politics-only approach and giving you the chance to talk policy.

With legislators busy working on their bills for the January session, what legislation would you propose?

Comments

94 thoughts on “Pick Your Policy

  1. We really need to start assessing what effect climate change is having on our state, such as drought in the plains, etc.  Also, some actions can and must be taken soon–California has led the way in that regard, especially to emissions.

  2. We need a comprehensive energy strategy for the state (perhaps a Blue Ribbon commission to help develop this?).  Instead of being in a reactive mode with current energy developers (drillers, etc), the state should be proactive and have a prioritized strategy with timelines re: how to move more communities and individuals to solar and wind power (and other renewables), and how to begin to wean ourselves from dependence on foreign oil.  The current approach and resources are way too fractured and ineffective.

  3. Let’s please drop the word “foreign” when it is associated with “oil”.  We have to wean ourselves off oil, foreign and domestic, but yes, the foreign one is the stuff funding terrorism and regimes hostile to our country, but let’s be realistic–it’ll be gone in 120 years.

  4. Just kidding. 

    The prescription drug purchasing pool bill is on the top ten.  Healthcare is a mess in this country and I think Colorado can be a leader in fixing it, and the drug purchasing pool is one step in the right direction.  We have over 700,000 uninsured in Colorado and that is appalling.

    As Ritter stated during the campaign, we can look to what Governor Romney has done, and find a compromise for something similar in Colorado.

    http://www.washingto

    1. my guess is that many, many of these people have screwed up priorities.

      I know of a guy that makes over $20.00 an hour working at the same place as me. Health insurance is offered at a group rate (Kaiser) which is reasonable. A certain amount is deducted for individuals and another for if you have a family.

      I pay a little over a hundred bucks a week myself for my wife and me.

      Well this dude which has a wife and kids didn’t take the insurance because he would rather spend the extra money on other things.
      He ended up in the hospital for quite some time for a burst appendix and other ailments. He now has a shit bag attached to his hip.

      With no insurance he will probably have to file for bankruptcy and his credit will be ruined. The medical bills are in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

      I feel ZERO sorry for his dumb ass. And I know him real well having worked side by side for over 20 years.

      My point is that many people would rather smoke those cigarettes, buy those CD’s, drive fancy cars, or do other stupid shit instead of getting health insurance.

      You don’t need a top paying ob to get it. It can be purchased individually for decent rates if one shops around.

      We don’t need mother government to support us in this field. A little self reliance would go a long way.

      1. Self-reliance?  Are you serious?  You think all of our problems can be cured by self-reliance?  When you come back to reality, join back in the debate. 

        Your friend is a prime example of why we need a Mass. Health Care plan in Colorado. 

        1. Is there something wrong with that? I know you liberals would much rather we turn this country into a “cradle to grave” nanny state but I would rather not pay for that. I have enough fun making sure myself and my family are under a roof, with food on the table, and our medical insurance is paid up.
          You guys love “spreading the wealth”. But answer one question……..who will pay for all these social programs when most people realize that there is no real reason to work. Where is the incentive? Since the government will take care of ya anyway, right?
          Why the hell should I work if I can lounge around all fuckin day and still can see the doctor if I get a cold? And my ‘ol lady can poop out as many kids as we can stand to hear cry cause big brother will pay the bill…..
          Answer that one question. Who will pay the bill?
          Force people to work? Can’t do that.
          Ask nicely? I would say no thanks, I’m comfortable. Tell ’em if they don’t work they won’t have coverage? That isn’t politically correct.
          I would like to know who will pay………

          Oh, my friend I wrote about is an idiot. Plain and simple. Anyone that is a grown adult, with a family, and would rather spend his paycheck on bullshit and puts himself in that position, deserves what he gets.
          We do NOT need government funded health care for him.
          I would have a real problem paying his bill.

          1. One way or the other, you’ll pay.  You can pay less by taking care of a health problem early on, or you can pay later when it is huge.  Or, I guess, you can just throw the body into the gutter.

            1. I pay now……….and how……..

              But hey, I do not mind paying for my own health coverage. I just have a problem with paying for everyone elses. And before someone spouts off about how insurance works I know my money is pooled into a kitty so to speak. But at least everyone that benefits from that kitty put their fair share in…..

              My whole point is who will pay the bill when we all discover that it is much easier to let someone else do the work, because the government will foot the bill either way?
              I asked Go Blue that but didn’t get an answer.

              I still see nothing wrong with our system now. If anyone wants insurance they buy it. Simple. I know it costs money. But so does that fancy car I see so many people driving.

              I do think most doctors and all hospitals are crooks, so maybe we can clamp down on them, watch what they are charging, and figure out a way that they can lower their bills.
              Maybe eliminate 95% of lawsuits against them which would also drop costs.

              Make any sense?
              Reducing medical costs, will ensure that many more people can afford health coverage without getting another government agency involved with all their waste and corruption.
              Just my humble opinion……

              1. Not so simple. Most of the 45 million uninsured Americans have jobs, Gecko. We are the only country in the world that ties health care to a job.

                  Unable to get a “real” job, how do I cough up $400/mo for a waste ridden “service” that is ridden with loopholes.  And there are the 20% co-shares, and/or $20 copays, etc. etc. 

                The con’s, and I do mean “con”, fixation on lawsuites and insurance problems is bullshit.  ALL court costs, lawyers, awards, etc. is 1% of our nation’s annual medical bill. 

                The real waste is in marketing and paperwork.  In some companies, it is as high as 30% of gross (and it is gross!) income.  The lowest is about 15%.

                That bad, nasty gummint prgram Madicare? 3%.

                And take a look at those CEO salaries, in the tens of millions of dollars a year.  What would a top drawer beaucrat run?  $200k?

                You cannot justify the current scheme by any rational or economic means.  The only rationalizations are either ideological or “just because.”  Neither fly in the reality based world. 

              2. Colorado was one of the first in the nation to institute limits on medical malpractice suits. The limit is, I think, $250,000. Unless a victim is independently wealthy, it is almost impossible to bring suit against a doctor or hospital.  Court costs and other costs eat up any award, even if the lawyer  takes a suit on a contingency basis. So, Gecko, why hasn’t there been an improvement in medical costs and outcomes in Colorado over the last twenty years? Riddle me that.

                1. Back in the 70’s, I believe. Insurance rates kept on climbing until the passage of Prop….103? 104?.  Suddenly, with a citizen on the state insurance board, insurance rates stopped climbing. 

                  I saw a chart just the other day that showed the costs of medical liabitily vs. awards over a number of years.  The latter just climb very slowly, but the premiums start skyrocketing about 20 years ago.  Absolutely no correlation.

                  “OB/GYN’s all over the country can’t practice their, their love of women becaus of high insurance costs.”

                  YOUR president, not mine.

          2. I am a liberal. 

            I do not want a nanny state.  Im scared to death what this Republican President has done to our civil liberties and freedoms with his war of terror. Or, as a faithful republican like yourself would like, the “government will take care of us and those who cry over the desicration of the constitution should just shut-up” (Bill O’Reilly).

            I do think there are basic human rights, and health care is one. 

            1. should be a ‘government funded’ right.
              It should be readily available, and reasonbly priced (which it isn’t right now), but not a “right”.

              You never answered my question.
              Who will pay the bill?

              I for one would have to think twice about going to that shit hole I’ve been working at for the past 22 years.
              Man, laying around sponging off Uncle sam sounds good……
              if I get sick, no prob Bob, someone else can pay my way..

              Naw, I’d rather eat a 44

              1. Jesus, man, can’t you do math?  I know that you are a smart guy, but it’s like talking to a wall.

                We spend +/- $6000/yr per person in this country for health care that STILL doesn’t include 45 million uninsured except as emergency room users.

                If Canada spent this much on health care, every citizen could get nose jobs, hair transplants, and false teeth and STILL have money left over.

                I can’t put my fingers on the numbers right now, but if you take the average of 25% marketing and paperwork bureacracy of the private syste, shave it down to Medicare’s proven record of 3%, that’s – here’s the math – savings of 22%!

                Right there, you have paid for everyone, lazy mofo’s, illegals, moral degenerates. Even Republicans.

          3. The $500 Billion price tag (thus far, with another $170 Billion for 2007) in Iraq could have been more wisely spent here at home, if you are so concerned with the economic impact of health care in the United States.  Not to mention the human cost (600,000 Dead) of the occupation.

      2. You’re paying for your wife and kids one hour’s salary out of every day, pre-tax.  Your company is paying a larger chunk than that…

        Is that what it should really cost?

        Go Blue is proposing the prescription drug pool, which will cost us almost nothing to administer.  Its returns to us as taxpayers will be substantial.

        Another skeptic proposed going to community rating – again, a step that will cost little to monitor, yet will save us (and the insurance companies) megabucks.

        I’ll throw on top of that mix a nationwide solution: standardized paperwork.  Administrative costs in the healthcare industry are huge, and I’ve heard from more than one doctor’s office the complaint that they need to hire an admin assistant for each insurance company just to keep everything straight.

        Another low-cost state or Federal solution: electronic recordkeeping.  America’s doctors offices are only 18% (!!!) digital; in Europe, that percentage is, IIRC at least 84%.  Electronic recordkeeping in hospitals could dramatically decrease incorrect medication errors as an added bonus.

        None of these are government “welfare” programs; they all make sense for our citizens, and it’s the “free” market that’s stifling them.

      3. There’s a reason why anecdotal evidence is not considered worth anything.  I can tell you (the truth) that I know a mother of two kids who is working as many hours as she can get at a couple different jobs right now, and that if she were to pay for health insurance, then her income would be down to about $50 per week, which would pay about half of her monthly rent.  Darn leeches taking advantage of us, eh?

        But I can do better than that.  I can also tell you that aside from my one anecdote, it’s also true that statistically, the large majority of uninsured Americans are economically unable to afford the coverage.  Why should they have their lives destroyed by health problems just because you are pissed at your coworker?

        1. The median income for a single wage-earner here in Colorado last year was almost exactly what your (Gecko’s) co-worker made.  I.e. half of the people working in this state don’t earn as much as he did and are less able to afford insurance than he was.

          Of the 700,000 uninsured (and that’s the folks not on Medicare, BTW), almost 1/3 work full time, another 1/4 work part-time, and the final 43 percent are unemployed (or don’t report their employment, aka self-employed?)  Wal-mart employees cannot afford their own health insurance; nor can fast-food workers – and those industries don’t usually provide affordable insurance as compensation.  There are a *lot* of people who work in the $5.15-$10/hour range in this state who have more basic concerns than healthcare.  I know when I worked for that kind of money, I was barely keeping my head above water – nevermind healthcare.

          So consider the 50% of the Colorado workforce who wasn’t making as much as that co-worker, and then tell me most of them just have misplaced priorities.

  5. Well, actually, that was the platform of one of my elementary school aged children’s classmates, but it does have a ring to it, don’t you think.

    And, if they had ponies, they could go faster, so they wouldn’t get left behind.

  6. 1.  I would create a Greenhouse Gas Registry for industry in the state.  This registry would give businesses the ability to track the amount of Greenhouse gas that they emit, give them options for lessoning their output.  Either installing more efficient systems, OR allowing them to give money to the state for re-forestation projects to make up for the CO2 that they do emit.  Global warming is the greatest challenge of our time.

    2.  Introduce a bill that would give same-sex couples the right to for hospital visitations.

    3.  Pass a bill that would outlaw anything but family owned farms and ranches.  Similiar legislation has passed in Nebraska and one of the Dakotas.

    4.  Require GMO labeling for all food sold in or from Colorado.

    5.  Ban all automatic dishwashing detergents with phosphorus content in Colorado.  When phosphates get into water bodies, they promote excessive algae growth, which in turn rob the water of oxygen that’s vital to the survival of fish and other aquatic species.

    Whew.

  7. To: Colorado Democrats
    Re: My Christmas (oops, SOLSTICE wish list.  2006.

    Hey big sexies,
      I just thought you might want to know what I thought about you and me and this upcoming “session.”  No silly!  I mean legislative session.  (Your mind is so dirty.  What?  You think I’m Mike Jones!?).

    Anyway, since I worked sooooo hard this year to get you elected I thought you could do me a few favors.  After all, by the Grace of Starbucks I was only able to get up early Saturday morning after my Friday night clambake to knock on doors for you.  I hear you’re thinking of going centrist (God forbid), or maybe even to the conservative Dark Side. 

    Please don’t.

    Instead, if you want more of my help in 2008, you may want to consider these fine guiding principles for 2006 legislative governance.

    1.) legalize marijuana.  I’m tired of having to sneak my Good Stuff when I’d much rather light up that big fatty on my way to work on Pearl Street.  Seriously.

    2.) Pass a censure vote for the Republican Party and draft an obviously non-binding resolution advocating Evil Bush’s impeachment.  Bush lied.  Gazillions died.  I mean, come on!

    3.) legalize gay marriage and demote heterosexual marriage to “domestic partnerships.”  We’ll give the homophobes a taste of their own bigoted medicine for once! 

    4.) Pass a 50% tax on gasoline consumption.  That way, we’ll ensure Colorful Colorado stays green by forcing drivers to ditch their gas guzzlers for Light Rail.  Soon enough, everyone will be saying en francais, “Mind the Gap.”  While on this Euro-fetish for a couple of years you may want to rename Denver “Amsterdenver.”  If you get a chance, of course.

    5.) Rename the Gay Brigade (Tim Gill, Pat Stryker (I knows she part of the heterosexual dark side, but she can pretend to be an equality-seeking transgendered complicator of sexual identity.  Complicated enough of an identity?  Good.  And jarid Polis, too!) the Supreme Governing Council of Colorado and Western Colopean Territories.  Tim Gill shall be addressed as Her/His/Unsure Majesty.

    6.) Let’s revamp sex education in our schools.  No longer can we let the fundamentalist Bible-thumpers to teach our kids (what few us enlightened progressives have) that sex is to be a sacred bond between married people.  We need to teach from a very early age that sex is a wild and crazy and hot and totally cool when done in multiple partner arrangments.  I say let’s give kids condoms from, oh, say, 9 years old and up.  But don’t just stop there.  We need to encourage these tikes to go out and experiment with partners at an early age.  And we really need to encourage same-sex behavior.  That’ll keep the pregnancy rates down.

    7.) Overpopulation is killing Colorado!  Have you been out to Washington County lately.  Population is up from 9 people to 13!  Thirteen, people!!!  No wonder the earth, according to Gore the Savior, will explode in approximately 19 years!  You know it’s bad when Colorado has four more people in Washington County!  And have you seen Elbert County???  Oi Vey!  It’s like Manhattan-West!  What to do?  How about mandate a one-child per-woman/man-transvestite law?  The rest we’ll just shuttle ’em down to Planned Abort-a-hood for the “Women’s right to choose procedure.”

    Now, I fully expect you guys to gitrdun this year.  And believe me, you’ll need our help in ’08 after passing these bills! 

    Thank you
    signed
    Colorado Pols posters (excluding those nasty, long-toothed posters Gecko, FFF, CdSmith, What???, and other woman-hating monsters whom we call “conservative” or “RRR.”

    Loves and kisses (in a most non-harassing way, to be sure)

    1. I would love to see a constitutional amendment defining marriage as “…between one man and one woman for life, beginning with the first of such relationships.  All subsequent marriages are null and void and only the first shall have legal standing effective January 1 of the year following passage of this amendment.”

      Time to fight fire with fire….

      1. That sounds really Catholic.

        Just add, after “All subsequent marriages are null and void” the wording, “until either or both parties can come up with sufficient money to buy an annulment of the original marriage from the Archdiocese”

      2. That sounds really Catholic.

        Just add, after “All subsequent marriages are null and void” the wording, “until either or both parties can come up with sufficient money to buy an annulment of the original marriage from the Archdiocese”

    2. 1.  Hell yes!  Smoke up me hearties and blow it right in the face of the neasest infant you see.  In fact let make it mandatory to toke up before during and after we sing the national anthem!  I can hear the bongs bubbling!

      2.  Actually I really would like to keep Dipshit around as long as possible.  That we we can kick your sorry asses AGAIN in 2008! 
      😀

      3.  Oh yeah!  You don’t go far enough man!  We need to outlaw heterosexuals and force sodomy as a requirement for graduating high school!  “Bend over FFF, time to pay the piper!  Squeel boy squeel!”

      4.  Ranchers and farmers are gonna linch you man.  Good luck with that.

      5.  Re-vamp sex education eh?  See number 3.

      6.  Tranvestites all the way!  While we are at it I say we let Ted Haggard accept who he really is and get him some of that James Dobson ass he has always been craving.  ;-D

    3. Not missing your humor here, but you might want to revisit #2…

      If the Colorado Legislature passes a resolution calling for the impeachment of Bush, there’s a rule in the U.S. Congress that says that the House has to immediately institute a panel to investigate and bring charges if good cause is found.

      It’s a very old rule…

    4. How did I get on your list of conservatives?  I’m seriously pretty confused here.  I hold some conservative opinions (esp. regarding abortion), but I think by and large, you’ve got me pegged in the wrong category.  Have you forgotten I’m the guy who thinks that the government is morally obligated to create a program to guarantee 40 hours per week of minimum wage employment doing public service (cleaning up parks, streets, trails, etc.) to anyone who shows up and asks?  The guy who believes all human beings are entitled to decent health care charged according to ability to pay, just by virtue of being human?  The guy who voted pretty close to straight Dem (and Suthers) in that election a couple weeks ago?  Carried petitions for the D-11 recall?  Volunteered for John Morse?  If I’m now a conservative, then the world is changing faster than I thought!

  8. We can cover all Coloradoans, including illegals, at less cost than we are paying now.

    The only thing stopping UHC is not money, but FFF and gecko.  Oh yeah, and lockstep ideology against logic and better health.

    It’s been worked out, the numbers crunched.  One of the principle supporters and creators of this is a Republican doctor.

    http://www.healthcar

    http://www.healthcar

    And FFF and gecko, you can just keep paying for your services as a point of protest.  Say, neither of you has ever used, or a family member used, Medicare or Medicaid, have they?

    1. None of them have ever lived long enough.

      That is no lie.

      My dad came the closest. But he spent his last year and a half in a coma from his bike wreck and after he used his million dollar Blue cross policy up, my wife nursed him.
      So no. I know of nobody personally that has used the system.

        1. I had to stop writing earlier, but I meant to also say that I’m not trying to be a wise ass or a higher than thou dude. I am just stating facts as they have been played out all my life.
          None of my grandparents on either side of my family made it past the very early 60’s either. So none has ever used any government help.
          And if my dad did not have such a good health plan that he paid for himself, we would have been forced to sell his assets to cover the medical bills. Then my wife would have become his nurse anyway.
          As it was we filed for his social security on his behalf and collected for less than a year before he died. So he paid all those years and got back zip.

          But on the other side of the arguement it is strange how he was in intensive care in Hot Springs, Arkansas for months. But a miracle happened. Just as his million dollar policy was finally used up, tada, he was ok to be released.
          Still in a coma but ok to be let go.
          I hate hospitals…….

          1. No, I know that you weren’t being a wise ass.

            Yes, your observation about the hospital and dischrage is right on.  When hospitals have way too many beds, they don’t want to release anyone.  That’ one of many problems of private hospitals and a “competative” health care system.

            You know, is a weird sort of way, I’m coming to respect you. Not your ideology, but your way of conversing here.

            Still miles away to say that about FFF. 

          2. Grecko, I am sorry for your lost.  But, in our family, when my Dad was in and out of a coma and his medicare (all retired military go on to medicare at 65) was gone, he had to be released to a nursing home. He died the night before he was to go.  How does inhome nursing care work for a patient in a coma? Did your Dad have a feeding tube? All the apparatus to keep him comfortable? Even if one of us had been an RN, we could not have given him round the clock care at home.  I am curious about how you all managed.

            1. My dad did have a feeding tube installed. My wife became his full time in-home wet nurse.
              Really embarassing if he knew what was going on. She had to clean him constantly, get up every three hours to feed him, bath him, brush his teeth, etc.

              By the way, she is my hero for doing all of this…..She sold her medical billing business to become a nurse.

              We had no outside means to pay for any of this because his insurance of course ran out.  So we rented a hospital bed, reclining wheel chair, oxygen equipment, etc. Everything needed to support someone like him. We even rented a mobile, I call it an engine puller, device to lift him from his chair into the van.

              We do believe somewhere along the way he emerged from his coma and became what they considered “severly brain injured”. Don’t know the difference but after they had to remove part of his brain due to swelling, I knew he would never come back to us.

              We moved him back to Colorado and set him up in my house as before. A few months later he died of pneumonia. Of course that was the morning after we had him in Penrose Hospital to find out why he was breathing rough. They sent him home.
              Fuckers.

              1. Your family is to be commended for making such tremendous efforts to take care of your father.  I am sure he was aware of the care and concern from his family. 

              2. As one who spent six recent years working with the dying (mostly due to age), I intellectually know what you went through.  My father now has Alzheimer’s, so I’m starting to learn the other side of the equation.

                Like Dwyer says, I commend all of you, especially your wife. I have seeen love many times surmount the seemingly impossible.  Grace in action.  As the old preacher said, holding up his hands, “These are the only hands God has.”

                BTW, she wasn’t a wet nurse, at least as you describe!  That’s a woman breastfeeding babies not her own!  A good chuckle.  And the “engine puller”, good description, is a Hoyer lift.

                These events are things no one wants.  But the irony is, only in difficulty and tragedy do we grow as human beings.

          1. Self-reliance sounds great, until you consider those who are not able bodied.

            Look at one of the first places the Republicans in Washington have cut is veteran’s medical benefits…yup, they too, should be “self-reliant” according to Gecko and his friends…

    2. And let me tell you, the UK’s National Health Services are in the crapper.  There are funding cuts, scandals, and–get this–people who actually have the chutzpah to seek private care for their ailments (the gaul!).

      The problem is simple economics–or demographics, depending on your academic forte: you have a huge lot of “pensioners” who are sapping the system dry.  My generation isn’t pumping out enough kids to support the growing number of pensioners in the future and so Labour is making pre-emptive cuts. 

      A national health system is a lovely idea, but it has tragic consequences.  Once you go NHS, you seriously cannot go back.  It is much tougher to ween a country off an NHS than ward it off in the first place.  If America can keep pumping millions of immigrants into the economy as Baby Boomers age–it might work here.  But then again, never before has a system like that worked in a capitalist (and huge) country like America before.

      Only individuals can compell individual behavior.  The State cannot compell child-bearing.  And only individuals know what’s best for the individual.  Which means that the State cannot impose the greatest good for the public because the State knows only what’s good for it’s coffers–not the citizens it’s trying to benefit.

      I picked up a great book in London called “Plato’s Children.”  It’s all about the disasterous consequences of our “Need to mean well.”  It’s disasterous for the economy and it’s disasterous for personal responsibility.

      So, mate, “The only thing stopping UHC is not money, but FFF and gecko?”

      Well, yes–and basic economics, of course.

      1. “basic economics”

        I love how this phrase is thrown out so casually, with NOTHING to back it up.  You point to a few misgivings about Britains health system and say that because of some problems it is not workable.

        Bullshit.  Pure bullshit.

        What did the big three auto makers say to Bush last week?  Why is it that businesses with fewer than 50 employees are penalized and cannot afford decent health care for their employees. 

        F*ck you and your “basic economics”. 

        If you are going to throw out a phrase like that THEN BACK IT UP.  And acknowledge that MANY economists have studied this (most of them far more intelligent than you or I) and have come up with different conclusions.

        Your conclusions assume:

        1.  That “liberals” want to carbon copy the British health care system.

        2.  That everything within our current system is just peachy.

        Get real man.

        1. In a health care system where every person “pays in,” you need a steady flow of “payer inners.”

          You can quote the total British expenditures on healthcare, but they are meaningless when you figure in the fact that the UK’s NHS is deeply in trouble.  They cannot keep that badboy afloat.  What’s more, in Britain you rely on a a pyramid-like population graph.  Ideally, you have a large block of younger workers supporting a smaller block of pensioners.  In many welfare states the big problem is thus: the pyramid is way to top-heavy, leaving countries two options: make cuts (unthinkable) or get more people working.  Since the gay European potheads are much too busy taking holiday in Cyprus, they don’t much bother with the whole baby-making business so vital to any serious, lasting society.

          Then you have to bring in immigrants who happen to be from Pakistan and north Africa who happen to be Muslim who happen to be involved in terrorist cells who happen to have radically anti-Western views, etc. 

          You get the point.  Britain, as well as much of the West (the US slightly exempt) is in a death spiral of population loss and governmental steroid-taking.  You cannot rely on an immigrant flow to keep your welfare state afloat for any sustained amount of time before you get good old fashioned Balkanization.  It’s already happenening in Holland where it’s the only industrialized country with a net EMmigration flow.  In other words, more people are fleeing that basketcase than coming on in (and believe me, they (being Muslims) are flowing on in as quickly as those ships get to dock).

          If America could ensure a permanent birthrate of 2.1 (the rate of population stability) then it could work here.  Then, of course, you get into moral questions about entitlements and socialism and the rest of it.

          In the end, the best plan is to adopt the Romney plan–entirely privately funded yet universal.  Liberals won’t like it so much because it’s not single-payer and government-provided.  But it’s a good middle ground that I would welcome here in Colorado.

          But please, don’t quote me silly numbers where simple macro and microeconomic philosophy is staring you right in the face.

          1. What exactly are the “moral questions about entitlements and socialism”?  Is that “What would Jesus do?”  ’cause if it is, conservatives in your vein would have a hard time answering.

            The Massachusetts plan is minimally okay, but IMHO it leaves a lot of room for fine-tuning for the better.

            And while we’re here, let’s dispel a myth: single-payer does not mean the elimination of private insurance or healthcare.  Medicare is single-payer, but services and fees are provided and paid by private companies.  The competition we now have with a multi-payer system has done nothing to help with excessive overhead costs or the compensation of poor financial decisions in the insurance industry.

      2. The UK spends about 1/2 of what we do in this country per capita for health care.  What if they spent what we do, about $6000/yr per capita?

        The UK uses a government owned delivery system.  It’s like our VA system.  Most countries, including Canada, use private provider, public payer types of plans. Quite good ole American capitalism, like defense contractors.

        If national health plans are so terrible, why have NO countries with them reverted to “the American plan.”

        Tick tock, tick tock.

        Give up? IT’S BECAUSE OUR SYSTEM SUCKS! Whatever problems those other countries have – again, at half the cost – are nothing compared to ours.  Don’t forget, they live in democracies, and none have dumped their plans.  Tweaked, yes, dumped, no. 

        Our country has 45 million w/o coverage and is worse off by some statistical measures than some third world countries, let alone Canada and Europe.

        I don’t know for sure about the UK, but I know of several European countries – and our poor cousin to the south, Mexico – where friends have had accidents.  Their bill? $ZERO.ZERO dollars. 

        There may be ideological reasons to keep our system, but there sure as hell ain’t no rational ones.

        http://www.healthcar

    3. The U.S. has had access to a fairly effective mechanism that does and has worked since 1929.  It’s the Blue Cross system.  It needs to be revised and reenforced.  It needs to be made mandatory with supplimental insurance available through the Aetna’s etc. 

      The crisis in health insurance is driven in large part by private companies screwing with the rates by targetting healthy younger subscribers.  When private insurers started cherry picking in the 1970’s we began to see widespread problems with availability.  Take the profitability out of it for the private companies by forcing them to offer the same deal as the Blues and they will go away. 

      I’ve experienced the U.K. medical system first hand, and it is a fairly miserable system.  First aid, yes, secondary care, no.  Keep in mind that our system is different in that we already offer some ‘universal government’ health care through the emergency medical system, which is part of the national system in other countries. 

      ‘Basic economics’ says there is no free lunch – everything costs something.  What screws up the public system in the U.S. is the propensity of both political parties to try and buy the AARP vote by giving things away.  This ends up being another argument for revitalizing the Blues and keeping the government out of it.

      1. What once was, isn’t anymore.

        The costs of non-profit health care systems like Kaiser or the remnants of the BC system are STILL way more than other nations.

        The for-profit Blue Shields cost a LOT more to participate in.  They have to pay for shareholder profits and CEO salaries.

        1. The BC/BS system is still non-profit in some states – my dad used to work for BC of PA, which is (was?) one of them.

          But yes, the costs of the non-profits have gone way up – due to the cherry-picking that Xenophon mentioned.  The HMOs keep their costs down by targetting the younger workforce, draining the lower-cost insured away from the BC/BS system.  Many of the for-profits would probably dry up and blow away if we went back to the days where no-one could cherry-pick their customers and everyone was charged on a community-rated scale.

          The for-profit Blues don’t deserve their names any more – they’re a disgusting perversion of everything the BC/BS system ever stood for.

          BTW, BC wasn’t perfect, either.  Preventative care never got much emphasis under the “old days” health care plans.

      2. Sometimes you just have to be a part of the diasterous mess called “nationalised healthcare” to really get it.

        Lefties see this lovely utopia of everyone getting in line for their “fair share” of health care courtesy of the state.  Of course, reality once again knocks quite loudly at the door. 

        There is no free lunch.  I’m amazed how dense and/or dogmatic the left can be in denying that most simple principle.

        1. My wife works at a doctor’s office in Colorado Springs.
          She told me last night about a returning couple from Canada that came in to see the doc.
          Apparently this 60ish couple comes to Colorado Springs once a year or more to visit relatives. But they time their visits to have medical services performed.
          The Canadian wife came in yesterday because of a nasty skin condition.
          She told my wife that in Canada she will need to wait for 4-6 months to see a doctor for this problem.
          So they time their visits to have their ailments taken care of here, which they pay out of pocket.
          She said that the only thing they use their mandatory health care system in Canada for is emergency big time help. Even though they are forced to pay for the care, they told my wife that the waiting lines are ridiculously long. Multiple months for the simplest of services.
          The couple told the doc and my wife that they have other friends in the Great White North that all do the same thing. The ones that can afford to that is.

          This is not the first I have heard of this.
          I think I’d like to keep the system we now have. Maybe revamp it a little to make it less expensive, but it the long run, it works fine.
          X’s and O’s
          Gecko

          1. that the conservative party won’t touch national health care with the proverbial ten foot pole.

            Canadians love it.  Just imagine if they spent 100% more per capita like we do in the US.  Free face lifts for all?

            An anecdote here or there cannot prove anything.  But statistics like infant mortality, vaccination rates, and longetivity prove the point.

            And no, we cannot tweak it to make it less expensive unless we get rid of that 25% of gross burden of marketing, paper pushing, and cEO salaries.

            “Hillarycare” would have been a great solution, but NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, you cons raised bloody hell after the insurers duped you into outrage. 

            1. a goodly number of the national systems that you think of are effective at only a partial level.  After that threshold is reached, it really, really sux to be involved with those systems.  They do a far better job of provide at least some coverage to everyone, but if you are thinking in terms of the care provided by even something like that of Kaiser, forget it.  London hospitals in the 1970’s had ten to twenty beds per post-op room.  Think in terms of pictures you’ve seen of hospital wards in the 20’s & 30’s in this country.  It’s been years, and hopefully things have improved, but that’s what it was like.  I also saw an awful lot of dog-tired Indian MDs, that the U.K. system relied upon to get staff. 

              1. I guess that’s the advantage of coming in late in the game.

                Again and again,

                No nation with national health has chosen the American system.

                All of them spend about 1/2 of what we do.  What if we spent 3/4?

  9. 1)  Healthcare for uninsured children (follow Illinois plan).
    2)  Allow the state to join with other states on purchasing agreements for pharmaceuticals (join Illinois and Kansas).
    3)  Expand non discrimination laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

  10. 1) Healthcare relief.  I’ll take any and all options under consideration, from prescription drug pools to the “Vermont plan” to the “Massachusetts plan” to Universal Healthcare.  We pay too much for healthcare, and the insurance, pharmaceutical and healthcare industries are the ones standing in the way of every single reform.
    2) Energy independence.  We can make a difference at the state level by making wise choices in governmental decisions lik transportation budgeting, building planning, and energy purchasing; and in regulatory/relief legislation like appliance standards, auto standards, and alternative energy incentives.
    3) More election reform.  I want to see the stronger provisions from the 2005 reform bill resurrected, minimum standard equipment provisioning requirements, and some form of multi-party election system (IRV or Condorcet).  Also, a referendum to reform the initiative and referendum process itself, to make Constitutional changes more difficult and add a super-majority statute override option for initiatives as a middle ground.
    4) Environmental care.  We can make a difference through water planning, overriding of Housing Association lawn requirements, wilderness management, and many other choices.
    5) Government efficiency.  We’ve squeezed a lot from Colorado’s government, and there’s still more to squeeze, but now we need the right tools: long-term budgeting and audit reporting.

  11. due to water law itd be an uphill fight, but id like to see a percentage of the water that is “saved” from conservation be dedicated to in-stream flows. or, in another form of true water conservation: require a certain percentage of the water involved in water transfers (say, 5-10 percent) to be left in the stream to maintain healthy flows. please note, this is the Liberal-friendly plan.

    the Conservative-friendly plan involves allowing the ownership of water rights for in-stream flows by non-profit organizations (which do not plan to put the water to a “beneficial use” as defined by water law). this way the free market works without more government regulations. the way it currently stands, such rights can only be given/donated to the state board.

    i became nauseous every time i heard the gubernatorial candidates discuss water, as they were identical in their calls for water conservation. however, if water conservation simply provides for more growth is any water really conserved?  i could ramble on forever, as this is the one critical issue nobody is discussing. i would love to see ritter become a proponent of such a plan and use his influence to actually accomplish true “water conservation”.

  12. By discussing a real issue, water, you may have violated the unwritten law requiring all posts here to be sheer tommyrot.  As for me, I urge a crash program of adult literacy, beginning with Druid, with 24-hour tutoring until he can pass a spelling test.
    By the way, I’m cool with the first marriage is the only one amendment…40 years and going strong!  Of course, if either partner leaves via the “shall death do you part” route, then a remarriage of the widow/widower should be treated as valid. 
    As for gays…why not?  But, of course, their first civil union would likewise be treated as their last. 

  13. Summit County is going to lose 90 percent of its pine trees in the next couple of years. NINETY percent!!! The place is going to look like a moonscape – and if anything, the Steamboat Springs – Kremmling area is worse off.

    There’s no way the local governments will be able to handle that kind of deforestation. Colorado needs a statewide approach to this, including systematic salvage logging on public and private land. Otherwise a catastrophic conflagration will result.

    1. I grew up hiking and climbing in the Gore Range.  I did a road trip from Dotsero to Dillon via the back way in late August and was stunned by what I saw.  When, not If, it goes it will take minutes.  I’ve kind of concluded that it is inevitable under Ritter that it will go.  It won’t be his fault directly, but unless you start massive logging now, the smoke will be visible from Kansas.

      1. I don’t think so. A) Coloradoans are not ready to invite back the industry they threw out years ago, B) the trees affected are small diameter and dead – leaving them with little of no value, C) there is little funding to implement forest projects.

        The infestation in our forests is a naturally occuring event that has been magnified because of fire supression in the past.

        Clean up the wildland/urban interface, get funding for the USFS and the State forester, begin creating industry for the cut trees (bioheating, for example) and then, only then, will communities be safer.

        The fire danger will be worse when the trees fall in four-five years.  The wisest move we could do is to create fire breaks, burn some areas/ cut others, and prepare ourselves and others for a very different looking forest in some of the most popular real estate in the country.

        1. I own two pellet stoves, and the price of wood pellets has gone up dramatically from two years ago.  There are times where it’s hard to find fuel.  Small-diameter trees are good for pellet fuel.

          Also, even marginal sized trees are valuable in a beetle kill; the blue stain fungus that infects the trees imparts a gorgeous color to the wood that is prized in the marketplace.

          Unfortunately, any burn that happens on the kill areas is likely to be so hot as to devastate the ecological health of the area.  Normally, fire would be a good solution, but with so much dried-out fuel, it would scorch the earth and burn off the nutrients most post-fire areas would have to spur recovery.  If you want to see how that looks, head up Boulder Canyon and look at the Black Tiger fire area.  That fire was 17 years ago, and there’s still not a tree on the entire hillside.

          Some of the wood in these areas needs to be logged – and I say this as an avid environmentalist and proponent of roadless and wilderness areas.  In today’s political climate, much of it will probably wind up burning, and we do need to create fire breaks to cut off any fires from developed areas, and to keep such blazes at least marginally under control.  (That happens using logging, BTW.)  Proper funding of the Forest Service is a good start.

        2. I think you need to do a trip down the Blue valley from Kremmling to Silverthorne.  When this one goes, it goes for hundreds of miles.  When I saw it, I realized I would never see that part of the state healthy again in my lifetime.  Almost EVERY pine is gone – not sick, dead, and it runs east and west as well. 

  14. It’s way past time to get serious about a solution to the Eisenhower Tunnel mess.

    I just don’t see any realistic, cost-effective alternative to digging a third bore for Eisenhower Tunnel, and adding a third lane to I-70 along most of its length. But whatever we do, we have to start moving NOW before I-70 becomes a total, 24-hour-a-day parking lot.

    1. Sorry, but you’re going to get some severe resistance from the mountain counties when you talk just adding car lanes.

      A third bore, yes.  There’s no escape for that.  But please, please don’t put in another two car lanes.  The studies all show that an extra two car lanes are the *least* effective solution to traffic problems through the mountains.

      Dual-mode guided rail bus is the best cost-effective compromise, and monorail / HST is the best long-term people mover (and greenest).  See The I-70 Mountain Corridor site for a full study of options.  Either of these would be much better for the environment than more cars.

  15. There’ll be a push by Dems to allow workers to choose their own doctors for workers compensation claims. That will be a huge mistake and will result in gigantic increases in workers comp expenses.

    Lawyers for injured workers will steer their clients to hacks who will want to maximize money recovery by making the clients worse. By contrast, the current system provides an incentive for good, conservative and effective medical care, because otherwise people don’t get well and are given massive amounts in disability benefits.

    1. The present system, designed by Republicans about 15 years ago, is often extremely unfair on workers.  Dems tried to pass a bill in the last session that would allow a change of doctor one time only and under a very strict set of rules.  No doctor shopping.

      Nevertheless, it didn’t pass, or the guv didn’t sign it, I don’t recall.

      1. The system works just fine as is.

        I have seen workers’ comp systems in Illinois and elsewhere where “injured” workers use chiropractors as their treating “physicians”.  They are taken off of work, and sit at home sucking up insurance money for watching television.  Totally unfair to the employer who foots the bill.

        Given the fact that there are so many uninsured folks out there, doctors love workers comp…it is a guarenteed payment.

        Occupational physicians are the only ones that should be providing care to injured workers.

  16. Right now if you get run over by a government vehicle, the most you can collect is $150,000 per person, $600,000 per occurrence. The per-person amount has been the same for something like 20 years. It’s time to increase the “cap” on government liability to something like $250,000 per person, $1 million per occurrence, to reflect 20 years of inflation.

  17. It’s impossible for an average person to navigate the work comp hearing process without a lawyer. And it’s becoming routine for both sides in work comp hearings to have doctors testify as expert witnesses at obscene costs.

    Do away altogether with medical expert testimony. All medical opinions to be by written report only.

  18. Transparency in politics:

    1. Require every 527 and other political committee to identify by name and address its ultimate sources of funds. No hiding behind front organizations. You can spend as much as you want as long as the public is clearly advised who the moneybags are.

    2. Require everyone running TV or radio ads to provide two things (posted on an easily-accessed internet site): (1) A written script for the ad, so that ridiculous, hyped-up, or oversimplified statements are easily exposed. (2) Footnotes with links to ultimate sources for every single statement of fact in the ads.

    So, for example, if someone does an ad saying “My opponent is soft on illegal immigration,” there has to be easily verifiable source support for the statement.

  19. Include nonprofits and politicians on the do-not-call registry.

    If that’s too harsh, at a minimum add automated “robocalls” to the registry. Nonprofits and politicians could then still call people, but they’d have to be real live people making the calls.

    Expand the do-not-call registry to make it “opt out” rather than “opt in.” 

    1. No robocalls to the do-not-call list; penalty, $5k per call.

      Also, we need more truth in advertising enforcement for political ads, calls, et cetera.  If the current law is too vague, then clarifying legislation needs to be enacted.

      And back to election reform, the act of misleading the voters should be a felony.  Calls telling Hispanics that their paperwork isn’t in order and that they’ll be deported if they show up to vote (as supposedly happened in CO-04) should be individually punishable with a 2-year prison sentence and $5k fine; providing the material support to subvert the vote should be punishable by a fine of the amount of money spent, plus the $5k per call fine, plus an appropriate additional punative damage award.  Repeated violations by the same party should relegate the party to third-party status for no fewer than 5 years, with re-elevation to major party status only through the legal requirements of gaining that status.

  20. Placement of any type of yard sign, political or not, on a public right-of-way should be a felony punishable by 1 to 20 years in jail.

    Well, maybe that punishment is a bit harsh. I’d consider making it a misdemeanor offense. But we need to take back our streets from this scourge!

  21. How about a law banning DOC from doing sex changes for inmates?  Oh, wait, that’s an idea for when (hoepfully never) the GOP gets back into the majority…but look for bills & amendments like this from Penry, Harvey & friends to try and make Dems squirm.

  22. I would love to see legislation (like that in Texas) that puts a tax on the gas and oil industry that goes directly to paying for higher education.  This would help to pull COlorado Higher ed out of the gutter without raising taxes on the middle class.

    Those recources (gas/oil) are finite, so we need to be sure that this industry that is making big$$$$leaves something that will continue to help generate revenue.

    1. TABOR was still the law of Colorado, dude. (And note all the states that had a Tabor on the ballot rejected it.)

      If you are still pissed off about Ref C, here’s some Republican advice: Get over it, you lost. The citizens spoke, it’s called democracy.

      And it was all done within the legal framwork of TABOR.

    2. Voters have passed broad spending limit waivers in 47 counties.

      Voters in many other counties have passed limited waivers in order to get out from under TABOR.

      If brought up for a vote today, TABOR would not pass.  CO was a guinea pig for this and the other states, rightfully so, have learned to steer clear of what we have shown to be a poor idea.

  23. Yeah, but don’t think for a minute that these Big Oil Barons wouldn’t pass that tax on to the consumer, who at this point can least afford it.  They would NOT absorb the cost of the tax.

    1. What, a few dimes a barrel of oil is going to kick the consumer? 

      What, this will flip their profits from “obscene” to “merely fucking greedy?”

      I cry…

  24. How about lower my taxes?
    Not just income but gasoline too.
    I know this pisses off the socialists out there but if we got rid of some of the overhead, bonuses, and fringe benefits in government, maybe we could lower taxes.

    1. There’s a lot of fringe benefits to working for the state…  Not.

      When is it, do you think, that we’ll finally be rid of “all the overhead”?  We’ve been trimming overhead, fringe benefits, and bare-bones services now for the past 12(?) years.

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