Apparently it’s not enough for Democrats in D.C. to dictate how the average Coloradan receives his or her healthcare, now Colorado state Senator Aguilar wants to as well.  At a time when regulation is already forcing healthcare prices up, while adding barriers between the individual and receiving care, Aguilar thinks the best solution is to add more regulation.  Ed Sealover of the Denver Business Journal reports:

“Aguilar’s… effort would require any free-standing emergency department within 25 miles of a hospital to be affiliated with a licensed hospital in Colorado.”


“[Aguilar] is bothered by the proliferation of freestanding ERs in general, worried that hospitals are spending needless resources in turf wars to try to capture patients.”

That’s right, because we all know from economics 101 the best way to ensure low prices for consumers is to inhibit competition and grant monopolies on services. (That’s sarcasm, folks.)

Her bill would affect one company in particular, First Choice Emergency Room, and the company is fighting back, according to the article:

“Andrew Jordan, spokesman for First Choice, said, however, that the 12-year-old company’s facilities fill the niche of providing board-certified physicians to serve the population in more convenient locations and with lower waiting times than hospital ERs offer.”

The proof is in the free-market pudding: if First Choice wasn’t filling a niche neglected by the current healthcare industry, there would be no market for its services.  Aguilar’s main argument against them – that they take advantage of higher reimbursement rates emergency rooms receive than urgent-care type facilities do – has more to do with how completely non-price sensitive the healthcare market is than anything First Choice does.  But, this is yet another example in which Democrats in Colorado are making business of doing business difficult for companies.

So when Aguilar complains, “To the average citizen, you walk into this building, and it looks like a clinic, they don’t realize they’re paying a much higher cost,” we respond: pay what?  Most consumers think “insurance has it covered”.

The healthcare market is so disjointed that healthcare customers could care less if that tongue depressor we’re always gagging on is five cents or five dollars.  Let’s pass some healthcare reform that introduces some price sensitivity to this market and, then, we can see if First Choice is really filling a niche or just abusing a incredibly-flawed, over-regulated industry.