When An Independent Analysis Is What's Needed

The election cycle of 2016 will not be known as a season where fact ruled the day. On a near daily basis, we see episodes where ideology supersedes the facts.  This is an election season of emotion and heart.

The Colorado Health Institute was founded – nearly 15 years ago – on the premise that fact and disciplined analysis can and should play an essential role in our policymaking decisions.  Here at CHI, we are committed to a world where facts can, in fact, supersede ideology.

It is that commitment that we bring to today’s publication of “ColoradoCare: An Independent Analysis – Finances.”  

We have a deep commitment to impartial research and independent analysis. And we also realize that this can lead to unpopularity. That’s the risk we take, day in and day out.

CHI is independent and non-partisan. By mission and by charge, we do not take positions on legislative choices, policy options or proposed constitutional amendments.  Our job is to shed light on the issues, bring in disciplined analysis (where there often isn’t any) and allow educated voters and policymakers to make informed choices on matters of health and healthcare.

ColoradoCare is no exception.

We began our analysis by asking a set of rather simple questions. These were questions that we as analysts and also as Coloradans wanted to know about Amendment 69.

First, what was this thing we were opting into or out of in November?  Our first report described the basic tenets of Amendment 69.  You can find it here.

Second, we asked about the financial plausibility of Amendment 69.  Our analysis addressed two questions:

  • First, would ColoradoCare, as currently envisioned, lead to universal health coverage for all residents of the state?
  • Second, would Colorado Care, over the course of the next decade, be financially viable?

You will find answers to those two questions in our newly released publication.

Our final report benefits from the extraordinary effort that went into this analysis.  My close colleague, Amy Downs, described this as the most challenging analysis of her 12 years at CHI.  While our message and report are clear and easy to understand, the analysis itself is deep, rich and complicated.  I thank Amy and her team – Emily Johnson and Edmond Toy in particular -- for rising to the challenge of such a project.

Making sense of this analysis for all of us rested in the very capable hands of Joe Hanel and Deb Goeken.  Don’t let the ease of absorbing this information fool you!  It was a brilliant job of dissemination.  Making sense of complicated matters is a point of pride for our organization.  Joe and Deb have done us proud. And, as always, Brian Clark has done a great job of designing the publication.

We anticipate that both proponents and opponents will poke holes in our analysis. This comes with the territory of entering waters where passion and conviction run high.  In our dealings with both sides of this issue (and leaders of both sides have had the opportunity to review our analysis), we have learned that passion runs deep.

We expect rigorous reaction and dialogue. Mostly, because we have been here before.  From our estimates of the cost of Medicaid Expansion to assessing the need for primary care clinicians, we have previously entered politically charged waters.

We trust, as has worked in the past, that supporters and opponents alike will listen to what we have to say and also, in the end, value that an independent research organization like CHI can enlighten the most complicated of matters – like Amendment 69.

We have provided our very best thinking and the cold hard facts of Amendment 69.  We hope that voters and policymakers alike will take our thinking into consideration.  And just maybe we can bring the facts into the discussion in this emotionally charged political season.

Michele Lueck is the president and CEO of CHI.