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Business Leaders Encouraged to Get Engaged in Health Care Discussion

Business leaders from around the state are encouraged to get engaged in discussions about probable alterations to Colorado's health care system.

Fletcher, associate director of the Business Health Forum, which is attempting to get businesses involved in the discussions, said, "There is a general consensus that the business community isn't as involved as it should be."

She and Ralph Pollock, director of the forum, were in Greeley to explain the probable health care changes to area business leaders. About 30 people attended.

Big changes might soon be in the works for Colorado's health care system.

The state's Blue Ribbon Commission for Health Care Reform has been working to come up with a health care plan that will help fix Colorado's health care insurance woes -- namely the high number of the uninsured in the state and the skyrocketing costs of insurance to businesses and individuals. By July 2008, the commission is expected to give recommendations to the legislature.

The commission has narrowed down 31 possible health care proposals to four options, which would differ in the ways those businesses, and individuals are charged for health care. A fifth option, a compilation of the best parts of the other four proposals, also is being discussed.

The proposals differ from requiring all Coloradans to have health insurance to requiring businesses to pay or, at least, money in the direction of a state fund for the purpose.

Many of the proposals would be partly funded by tax increases to cigarettes and alcohol and many calls for expansions of Medicaid and a federal program that insures low-income children.

Starting in October, the committee will tour Colorado to elucidate the alternatives and look for input.

Sarah MacQuiddy, president of the Greeley Chamber of Commerce, said it is very important that business leaders get involved in the procedure. She called health care one of the top three issues for Greeley businesses.

She said, "It's something we've got to do something about."

Pollock encouraged business leaders to do anything they could to get involved in the discussion, from writing letters to lawmakers to testifying at hearings.

He said, "We've got to get you involved or nothing is going to happen."



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