Ritter offers pared-back health plan
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
DENVER ” Gov. Bill Ritter announced the first steps in implementing his health-care reform package on Wednesday, saying the initial $25 million plan would cover about a quarter the 800,000 people in Colorado without insurance.
The plan calls for expanding children’s health coverage, creating a center for improving value in health care and helping consumers find the best insurance.
He said federal funding could raise spending another $40 million a year.
Ritter said the package would cover about 200,000 Coloradans who don’t have health insurance.
“Our health-care system is fundamentally broken, and the flaws touch every person and business in Colorado,” Ritter said.
Republicans said the plan falls far short of Ritter’s campaign pledge to provide health care to every Coloradan by 2010.
“We’ve already seen that promise has been broken,” said Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma.
Democrats also passed a resolution in the House saying that by the year 2010, all children in Colorado should have access to health-care coverage through insurance or public programs.
House Minority Leader Mike May, R-Parker, called that an empty promise.
“It really doesn’t do anything, it doesn’t insure one child, it doesn’t get anyone anything,” May told the House.
Ritter said people need to think big when it comes to health-care reform. He also said there is a chance Congress will provide more money, allowing Colorado to help the other 600,000 who would remain uninsured.
“To those who say, ‘You’re not going far enough,’ we encourage you to keep dreaming big,” Ritter said.
Sen. Bob Hagedorn, D-Aurora, said he plans to introduce a bill later this year that would put a measure to the voters as soon as 2011 to raise taxes for subsidized health insurance for the uninsured, but he said the “building block” approach by Ritter is a good start.
“This is a step forward,” Hagedorn said.
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Highway 82 is closed in both directions Wednesday morning after a multiple vehicle crash, according to a Pitkin County alert.