Gov. Hickenlooper Speaks at Global Spa and Wellness Summit
KREX News Room
ASPEN, Colo.- "How about almost any country?," was Gov. John Hickenlooper's answer to this question, "Whose health care should America emulate?"
"It's important to think of health as a natural resource to be fostered and grown rather than squandered and lost," said Franmarie Kennedy, the deputy director for the Aspen Health Biomedical Science and Society Initiative at the Aspen Institute.
Health experts from 40 countries attended Tuesday's summit, forming a think tank of alternative and progressive strategies. At the heart of it was Colorado's governor, who hopes to bring this summit's ideas to life. "Everyone's spending an awful lot of time figuring out who's going to pay for it. Is it going to be the federal government? Is it going to be businesses? But it seems to me, it should be a full court press on how do we control costs and improve outcomes?" asked Hickenlooper.
The problem rises as income falls. ColoradoTrust.org reported that in 2011, 28 percent of Coloradans below the poverty level are uninsured. That number dips to 11 percent in triple the income and goes down to 3.7 percent for those making above $40,000 a year. "This becomes especially exaggerated in rural areas. We have large parts of Colorado where we just don't have the number of clinics and hospitals and medical personnel," added Hickenlooper.
On a wider scale, the nation's health care costs are just as bloated. "We spend roughly $8,000 per person per year in this country," Hickenlooper told a packed auditorium.
He went on to say that other countries, such as Great Britain and Australia, spend only $4,000 per capita and achieve better results.
Overall, the governor said he's looking for creative solutions to age-old problems. "If there's a company that could take over our Medicaid contracts and do it with a lot less overhead, a lot less red tape, deliver better outcomes at a lower cost, we'd be fools not to look at it."