February 12 2010, 10:26 AM
Governor Bill Ritter and his fellow Democrats are seeking to improve health care in the state with a range of new proposals, from forcing insurers to cover mammograms to forgiving college debt for nurses. With the state staring down deficits, the 10 bills don't include hefty price tags, but they don't help the roughly 700,000 Coloradans who have no health insurance, reports The Denver Post. Instead, the measures aim to make care more equitable for existing consumers. Among the proposals is one that would prevent insurance companies from charging women more than men for individual coverage. Another would require companies to write policies in "plain English" so consumers know what is covered before purchasing a plan. State Senator Shawn Mitchell (right), a Broomfield Republican, calls the Democratic proposals "underwhelming," pitching other ideas, such as allowing Colorado residents to purchase insurance across state lines or creating transparency in health-care pricing so consumers could call a doctor's office to find out exactly how much a procedure would cost. Westword, meanwhile, shows just how bad the health insurance industry can be, following Jennifer Latham's lengthy fight with her health insurance company after a car accident left her seriously injured and facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills. Her policy with Milwaukee-based Assurant Health was canceled because of a profit-minded practice called "post-claim underwriting," according to the paper, which chronicles a jury's $37 million verdict against the company. The New Republic praises the story for illustrating how insurance companies find reasons to deny care to customers to boost the bottom line.