Health care permeates local, national discussion

Any topic that finds its way from the dinner table to the water cooler is likely to work its way onto the national agenda. When that topic becomes the butt of jokes on late-night television, adding to razor-thin votes in Congress and repeated references in presidential debates, we truly have a topic that has permeated all aspects of American society.

Health-care reform, of course, stands atop the domestic American agenda. Late-night talk-show host Jay Leno once joked, “I have been thinking about the health-care problem and how to pay for health care. If you took all the money the Republicans have spent trying to stop health care and all the money Democrats have spent trying to get health care, we could afford health care.”

That’s not too far off from the truth.

Health care affects everyone. Those who can’t afford health insurance tend to neglect their own health or their families’ health, one day finding their way to hospital emergency rooms. That costs everyone, as hospitals will somehow pass on those costs to taxpayers or those people who do have health insurance (in the form of higher rates).

Employers are affected by the health-care discussion, with rapidly escalating costs to provide insurance for their employees. The health-care industry itself is undergoing wrenching change. In the Boulder Valley, and elsewhere around the country, hospitals are expanding, adding services and vying to survive in a new world.

Hospitals are forging alliances with one another or battling it out. They’re acquiring small practices or specialty clinics, offering the administrative support and security of a large system to physicians no longer able to afford independence.

These times of change nationally will be felt locally for years to come. That’s why a publication such as Boulder Valley MD is so important. This directory, produced by the Boulder County Business Report, seeks to identify every medical facility — and physician — within the Boulder Valley, including all of Boulder and Broomfield counties.

Clinics have sold. Facilities have closed. New entrants have come into the market. A reference tool for consumers and health-care practitioners becomes an essential tool for tracking those changes and answering an important question: Where do I go for health-care services?

I’d like thank chief researcher Mariah Gant for her hard work researching this publication, and to the entire staff of the Business Report for helping pull this magazine together.

As the 2012 election nears its end, no matter who emerges as victor, health-care reform will continue atop the national agenda through 2013 and beyond. And the Boulder County Business Report, along with Boulder Valley MD, will be there to write about it.

Christopher Wood can be reached at 303-440-4950 or via email at cwood@bcbr.com.

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