ARCHIVED  March 16, 2007

Blue Ribbon Commission seeks ideas for reform

DENVER – A 24-member commission is considering ways to increase coverage and reduce the cost of health care in Colorado.

The Blue Ribbon Commission on Healthcare Reform, formed last November as a result of Senate Bill 06-208, is charged with finding and presenting comprehensive statewide health-care reform options to the Colorado General Assembly.

There is currently a bill in the Senate to permit Gov. Bill Ritter to add three additional members.

The commission – made up of representatives of consumers and purchasers of health care, along with health-care experts and business leaders – is examining options for expanding affordable health coverage to all Colorado residents.

All of this has to be done by Nov. 30, said Elisabeth Arenales, health-care program director of the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, who is on the commission.

The commission is in the process of gathering proposals.

It is setting up a competitive process to find a company to evaluate the proposals, said Project Coordinator Anita Wesley, one of three paid staff members working for the volunteer commissioners.

The state is the commission’s primary funder. It has received $50,000 and will receive another $50,000 when matching funds are raised through gifts, grants or donations.

The money pays staff salaries and will also be used to pay for the independent evaluation as well as hosting informational meetings in each congressional district statewide to get public comments, Arenales said.

Wesley, who uses an office donated by the Colorado Foundation for Families and Children in Denver, is charged with fund raising.

“I think we’re all very optimistic that we can come to a really good result,” Arenales said. “Everyone is working their tails off to that end.”

Commission members

Blue Ribbon Commission on Healthcare Reform members were appointed in 2006 by former Gov. Bill Owens, Senate President Joan FitzGerald, Speaker Andrew Romanoff, Senate Minority Leader Andy McElhany and House Minority Leader Mike May.

Members include:

•  Erik Ammidown, director of health and disability benefits, Qwest Communications

•  Elisabeth Arenales, health-care program director, Colorado Center on Law and Policy

•  Clarke D. Becker, executive director, Colorado Rural Development Council

•  Carrie A. Besnette, vice president, The Daniels Fund

•  Christy Blakely, director, Family Voices

•  Dr. David A. Downs Jr.

•  Steve ErkenBrack, chairman, Health Care Committee, Club 20

•  Lisa M. Esgar, senior director, operations and finance, Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, state of Colorado

•  R. Linda Gorman, director, Health Policy Center, Independence Institute

•  Julia Greene, director, Health Systems Colorado, Service Employees International Union

•  Allan Jensen, independent life and health insurance broker

•  Grant Jones, executive director, Center for African American Health

•  William N. Lindsay III, president, Benefits Group, Lockton Cos. of Colorado Inc.

•  Donna Marshall, executive director, Colorado Business Group on Health

•  Pam Nicholson, senior vice president, Advocacy and Community Partnerships, Centura Health

•  Ralph Pollock, chairman, Business Committee on Health Care, CACI

•  David F. Rivera, commissioner of insurance, state of Colorado

•  Arnold Salazar, Colorado Behavioral Health Care Council

•  Mark Simon, disability advocate

•  Daniel Stenersen, president and CEO, Shalom Park

•  Steven J. Summer, president and CEO, Colorado Hospital Association

•  Mark Wallace, founder, Northern Colorado Health Alliance

•  Joan M. Weber, benefits risk manager, city of Englewood

•  Barbara Yondorf, senior program officer, Rose Community Foundation

SOURCE:  Blue Ribbon Commission on Healthcare Reform

DENVER – A 24-member commission is considering ways to increase coverage and reduce the cost of health care in Colorado.

The Blue Ribbon Commission on Healthcare Reform, formed last November as a result of Senate Bill 06-208, is charged with finding and presenting comprehensive statewide health-care reform options to the Colorado General Assembly.

There is currently a bill in the Senate to permit Gov. Bill Ritter to add three additional members.

The commission – made up of representatives of consumers and purchasers of health care, along with health-care experts and business leaders – is examining options for expanding affordable health coverage to…

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