A price list at the hospital is key to Neville’s Obamacare replacement

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Tim Neville.

Sen. Tim Neville.

Conservatives are still wandering around, from interview to interview, saying they want to dump Obamacare. And here's "the key thing," as articulated by freshman Colorado State Senator Tim Neville on the radio Saturday:

Neville: "The key thing is the Republican Party, and those of us up in the Senate and the House, need to make sure we have something to replace it, and we're working on a little bill along those lines this year."

Neville didn't spill the beans on his Obamacare alternative right away, but he circled back to it later in the interview, aired on KNUS' Weekend Wake Up, with Chuck Bonniwell and Julie Hayden.

Turns out, he was referring to his bill requiring hospitals to list the prices of common procedures, when third parties aren't paying for it.

Neville @10:45 below: "Going back to the health care, what do we have that's going to replace this? I have a pretty moderate bill requiring transparency and requiring–and I hate to require any business to do anything–but allowing people to actually get prices so that if they want to pay for a health-care procedure, they actually have an opportunity to get a price instead of having to go through the billing department. And if they don't have insurance, they really don't know what they are going to get charged, if they just want to pay for their procedure. We have so many people in high-deductible plans–$6,000 deductibles or higher–and so many people who have decided, 'I'm not going to mess with it.'

…"If we allow the forces of the marketplace to be unleashed, I'm a huge fan of high-deductible programs, health-saving accounts that are tax-deductible, and the ability for people to have skin in the game to make important decisions, rational decisions."

A price list, so people without insurance know exactly how much they probably can't pay with paltry health-savings accounts? Skin in the game!

Maybe the idea has merit, but Neville is overflowing with audacity to frame this bill as anything related to the Obamacare alternative that conservatives are desperately seeking. 

In Neville's case, the anti-Obamacare passion runs deep. He said Saturday that he challenged fellow Republican Jim Kerr for the Jeffco Senate seat after Kerr went "off the rails" and supported the bill (SB-200), which established Colorado's market-based health-insurance exchange and had the support of the business community and GOP leader Rep. Amy Stephens, among others, at the time.

Neville, beginning at 4:50 below: "Senate bill 200 was what put me over the edge to be involved in politics, when I was running for a vacancy. There was a Republican legislator that wanted to move up from the House to the Senate. I actually campaigned for him, considered him as a friend. But he kind of got off the rails, along with the other people who voted for 200. And people weren't getting it. Sometimes you can send a message with a phone call or a letter and sometimes you've got to have a little bit more involvement…. One of my first bills was to repeal the state health care exchange, and, of course, it fell one vote short."

You wouldn't expect KNUS talk-show host Chuck Bonniwell, who interviewed Neville Saturday, to ask about the GOP's real alternatives to Obamacare, but other reporters should pick up the slack, whether it's Neville or Sen. Cory Gardner.

10 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. davebarnes says:

    Requiring hospitals to publish price lists is useless.
    That is because they will publish LITS prices which no one (except for the uninsured) actually pays.
    A better bill would be to require hospitals to charge one price–the lowest price they charge.

    • BlueCat says:

      Exactly. What we need is a civilized, public, guaranteed, universal, single payer quality coverage and care package like they have in the rest of the civilized 21st century world. Getting your child vaccinated (when you aren't so stupid and/or selfish you don't want to) shouldn't be a decision dependent on  the family budget.

  2. FrankUnderwood says:

    Just what you want to do in the ambulance as you're rushed in with your third heart attack:  look at the menus and price shop. "Hmmm, where is that coupon I saw last week for angioplasty at Swedish Medical……"

  3. Diogenesdemar says:

    "Requiring [business]" . . . oh, Timmy, say it ain't so???

    The good news is that every one of the bills from this of this fool, and his idiot son (MiniTimmy), should be dead in the next couple of weeks.  Nothing left for Timmy to do but rub his gun . . . 

  4. Not Dame Edna2 says:

    I hate to sound like I agree with Sen. Neville and this by itself is not a replacement for the Health Exchange.

    However, knowing how much things costs is a very big deal as it relates to how much healthcare costs. If we don't know what things cost, then how will we ever bring costs down?

    We actucally have a Cost Containment Commission that came out of a bi-partisan bill passed last year to study and make recommendations on this very issue. I think we should let them do their work and I look forward to future legislatures acting on their findings. http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2014a/csl.nsf/billcontainers/CE2BF2264305C4CC87257C360078C30E/$FILE/187_enr.pdf

    • mamajama55 says:

      Base prices of procedures and common charges should be listed, and they should be at the lowest market rate for the area, as davebarnes said..

      Recently, when seeing a new doctor with a new insurance plan, it took a frustrating half hour to determine what the copayment should be for  a new-patient exam. My charges for the visit went down from $210 to $20 when I objected to the receptionist's first attempt. And it was an honest mistake on her part – how many consumers pay way too much because of mistakes?

      Eventually, we will implement to a public health care option, like most other civilized countries as it makes so much more sense, and is the most efficient way to care for large numbers of people. 

      If I were a Republican, I would take the long view, and try to delay the public option by enthusiastically supporting the private insurance companies via Obamacare. They're making huge profits, creating millions of jobs, and costs for the consumer are STILL going down. In a sane world, Republicans would want to be taking credit for all of that private enterprise success. 

       

      • BlueCat says:

        Agree it's a useful step in certain circumstances but would hardly make a dent in catching up with the rest of the civilized world in affordable accessible health care for everyone.

  5. Posting price lists at the hospital isn't really useful, unless you think you're going to scare off the people going in for that elective heart bypass surgery at the last minute. 'cause, you know, most people elect to have heart bypass surgery and to pay tens of thousands of dollars for the thrill of it.

    Posting price lists at doctors' offices is just as good: I don't think I have the money for that measles vaccine for my child today – maybe I'll put it off until I save up.

    Not that making pricing (and outcome effectiveness) public isn't a good idea, but it should be a readily accessible compiled publication searchable/filterable by region. And it still doesn't replace the need for insurance.

  6. ajb says:

    Oh, the irony! First he says wants a transparent marketplace, but in the next breath says he wants to eliminate the insurance exchange…

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