The Colorado legislature has been unable to audit the Colorado health exchanges, yet, at the same time the health exchange can raise a tax on all health insurance plans—including those plans bought through an employer and outside the exchange. We are quickly approaching a situation where the average Coloradan is getting taxed by an organization it cannot hold accountable. On top of this, Coloradans cannot opt of health insurance without paying a penalty, meaning it’s impossible to avoid paying a tax despite having no voice or representation with the organization levying it.
As reported by Health News Colorado:
A $13 million tax on all Coloradans with health insurance would pay half the operating costs at the state health exchange next year and in 2016 under the newest financial projections.
The proposed tax would affect at least 875,000 people and includes Coloradans who get their insurance through their employers or outside the exchange. [the Peak emphasis]
Perhaps state Sen. Owen Hill said it best:
“Not only is this not fair. It really is against the law. We have a law here in Colorado that says you can’t increase taxes without a vote of the people,” said Sen. Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs, who sits on the exchange’s legislative oversight committee.
How do they justify such an outrageous tax? By vaguely saying all people are better off when people have insurance since emergency rooms will no longer have to pass the costs of treating the uninsured onto people with insurance. Yet, this ignores the fact that most of the expansion of health insurance has been gained through Medicaid, and Medicaid is notorious for such a low reimbursement rate to doctors that doctors either limit the number of Medicaid patients they have, or refuse them outright, saying they lose money on every Medicaid patient they see.
On top of this, a Harvard study recently revealed people on Medicaid end up going to an ER 40% more than those without. If Medicaid doesn’t pay enough to reimburse doctors, how are they going to cover ER expenses which are much higher? And since ERs can’t refuse to treat Medicaid patients, who do you think will end up subsidizing their visits? Yep, looks like we’re back in the same boat as before, if not worse off, and on top of that, we have a new tax that we have no say over.
It gets worse. Connect for Health Chief Financial Officer is expecting 20% of the 120,000 that allegedly enrolled to not pay, or opt of their insurance in the coming year. Unfortunately for them, because of the bill liberal Sen. Udall passed (and would pass again) they’ll have no ability to find other insurance until November.